Affogato Corretto

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single espresso in possession of a good head of crema must be in want of a shot of grappa.  This shot of grappa “corrects” the espresso, resulting in an espresso corretto.  It is also a truth universally acknowledged that a single espresso in possession of a good scoop of ice cream (a combination known as an affogato) must be in want of a shot of grappa. This “correction” brings forth an affogato corretto.  As a different writer, bearded and burley, might have observed, it’s a damn fine way to drink a damn fine espresso.

I first crossed paths with an espresso corretto on a lunchbreak while cycling through the Veneto, leading to an afternoon that was both weirdly exhilaratingly and wobbly.  A similar cycling break in Puglia this past September, after pedaling up a VERY steep hill into town, led to my introduction to an affogato, sans grappa, although I was to shortly discover* that an affogoto might be experienced in either a “corrected” or “uncorrected” version.  And you need not administer your correction exclusively as grappa.  On the day we shot this post the local grappa well had run dry, so we used rum in its place.  Guess what?  It works!

Did you make the brandade two weeks ago?  And the braised pork with chow fun noodles the week before that?  Okay, here’s your reward.  Choose your correction (no bustiers or riding crops, please).  The rest of you will just have to watch.  Enjoy.  Ken

*Yes, yes, I know this is a split infinitive.  I intended to use a split infinitive.  My mission was to boldly drink where no man had drunk before.

Affogato Corretto TGF-4

Affogato Corretto

Serves 4


  • 4 2-ounce scoops best quality vanilla  ice cream
  • 3 ounces grappa, dark rum, scotch or brandy–we used dark rum.
  • 4 1½-ounce shots espresso or extra strong coffee


  1. Put scoops of ice cream in 4 short attractive glasses.
  2. Pour ¾ ounces booze over the ice cream.
  3. Pour the shots of espresso over the ice cream.
  4. Indulge!

Affogato Corretto TGF -5

Affogato Corretto TGF -1

Jody Notes:  

I’ve never been a fan of Irish coffee, especially at night.  It wreaks havoc in my body.  I lie awake as the caffeine, sugar and alcohol duke it out over who’s in charge.  Afterward, I feel exhausted and my head aches.

A few years ago, our cycling  friend Vernon,introduced us to espresso corretto in the Veneto.  We were delighted to find out that we were expected to drink an espresso with a shot of grappa–at 11 a.m.  Wow.  Thank God for carless back country roads.  By starting at 11:00 you can have both espresso and grappa.  Hey, that’s what vacations are for, right?  And there was still time for a nap later, before going out that night.  

This year when we were in Puglia, the correction was taken a step further with affogato.  I was nervous.  Now we were throwing sugar and fat into the mix.  The trick, we discovered, was to go for a long bike ride early in the morning, then have the affogato corretto as our reward after we got back.  It also helped to think of it as its own meal.  In other words, it wasn’t before or after anything else – it was the center of attention.  Then you take the nap.  

When Ken and I were photographing this post and testing proportions, we made a dozen or so affogato corretto.  I inhaled the first one, then got a grip and restricted myself to a few sips (for tasting purposes ) for the remainder of the session.  I felt fine and I’m sure no one could tell what I’d been doing.  

[Editor’s note: Ha!]

I recommend you assemble these ingredients on New Year’s Eve so you can make a meal of affogato corretto whatever time you wake up the next day.  

P.S.  In the interests of authenticity we stuck to vanilla ice cream in the post, the usual choice in Italy, but I let myself experiment a bit over the next few days with our leftover ingredients.  My favorite was with chocolate ice cream and scotch, topped with crunchy Taza Chili Chocolate shavings.  It was fabulous.

Affogato Corretto TGF -3

Go ahead; click on something to see it with a little more detail.  Left and right arrow keys will move you through the photos.  Hitting the escape key will return you to the real world.

34 thoughts

  1. Having enjoyed more than a few cafe correttos with Vernon, I can personally vouch for it’s restorative properties. He claims it will ‘correct’ or settle an upset stomach, and enjoys them after any big meal, no matter the time of day. I like this plan – enjoy in the afternoon, followed by a nap!

  2. So simple yet so lethal. Chocolate ice cream and scotch? That is so over the top. This is definitely an afternoon refreshment after a bike ride….followed a few hours later by a nap! Mmmm.

  3. I love espresso and have it every morning macchiato style. I love grappa. The thought of combining them and with ice cream blows my mind away. Gotta run out and replenish my grappa supply. Wow!


    • Go to Marty’s on Crafts Street–they’ve got a great selection. Personally, I always go for any bottle with a photo of a vaguely Stalinist factory on the label, but then I prefer the ones with a little edge. Good luck. Ken

    • Ha! Cindy, that is the most spectacularly convoluted reasoning from an adult I’ve ever encountered (says the father of a 16 y.o.). But rationales are good. Did I need the Calvados I just drank at the MOMA cafe? Well, no, but it is the holiday season and my brain is toast after spending the last two hours walking through a fabulous exhibit about the emergence of abstraction at the turn of the 19rh century. Go for it!

  4. We spent a month in the Veneto in 2011, and nobody ever offered us one of these. Was it because we weren’t on bikes? (Everybody else was. Merely driving down the mini mountain where our house was located was terrifying because of all the cyclists.) Bravo, bravo. Love affogato, though I’ve never had it with booze. Must remedy.

    • Michelle–you guys are going to love this! (But only after riding uphill, never before riding down.) I never saw an affogato in the Veneto (but I did discover espresso corretto). We encountered them in Puglia. I don’t think it’s a regional thing, but who knows–they seemed kind of ubiquitous. Puglia also had something called an “espressino,” which was like a mini-cappucino, except that unlike the latter, it could be ordered any time throughout the day without provoking a look of derision from the barista. Happy 2013! Ken

  5. First, these pictures are amazing. I can only imagine that it was hard to get that swirl of coffee captured so beautifully! Second, I love that you’ve combined a reference to Pride and Prejudice with grappa. While I’ve never had it (that I remember, anyway), I have always been amused by the idea that coffee can be “corrected” with alcohol. I’m like Jody with the caffeine sensitivity, so I’m all for drinking it on the 1st of the year!

    • Sara–It was great to finally get a chance to meet in person, to put an actual person behind the blog! I’m glad you liked the pictures–we made so many that we began passing affogatos out to our downstairs neighbors (who love blogging days). Thank you very much for the generous reference–I owe you a drink, corrected or not. Good luck with everything in 2013! Ken

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