Some of the local wine plus a little spirit, infused with whatever combination of fruits (often cherries), nuts, maybe some spices (or even coffee). It's Mediterranean moonshine, the stuff the farmer next door gives you as a present when you move into a country house. In the old days it was a wedding toast, hence the name, from the closing words of the ceremony: rata fiat, 'it is ratified'.
Ratafia is known throughout Italy, Switzerland, southern France and Catalonia, and no two bottles are alike. They take it seriously, and produce it commercially, in the Abruzzo, southern Lazio and Piedmont.
Also spelled rattafia.
Images by: Alex Roe