This all started with an innocent question in Florence.
I was then a single malt guy. But I thought it would be wasteful to order a Macallan in Italy.
So I asked the weary hotel barkeep if there was a Florentine drink, something that distinguished the city.
He spoke little English and I no Italian, but he got a broad “Funny you should ask” smile and produced a Negroni. He tried to tell me about Count Negroni and his Americano, but I thought “Americano” was a mild insult and the whole thing was lost on me.
But the drink was a revelation, all bitter and floral and just a little sweet. I’d never had anything like it. I returned home, looked it up and discovered it was equal parts of ingredients available at my county liquor store. I bought them, mixed them, and produced something pretty much like what I had in Florence.
One thing led to a thousand more.
And while I’m still a hit-or-miss home drinksman, I’ve learned that enthusiasm, a habit of sponging information from experienced barkeeps, and a credit card can take you a long way.
In my callow youth — which is to say 2007 through 2009 — I wrote a blog about “emerging media” titled “Web 2.oh…really?” In a moment of questionable judgment, Time.com declared it a Top 25 blog. (Maybe they were drinking.)
In my even callower youth I was an editor at The Washington Post, a gig that fed a certain cheerful skepticism now wound tightly into my double helices.
So: Here I am. And here you are. Enjoy the drinks (or not).
Please feel free to commit bar talk: Leave a comment, correction, eye-roll, head-slap, elaboration, humblebrag, or recipe of your own.
As they say in Florence: “Saluti!”
Actually, that’s from Google Translate. I have no idea if it means “Cheers!” Like I said, I don’t speak Italian.