Thursday, April 02, 2009

Three Dollar Amaretto

During my sophomore year in college my dad got transferred to sleepy Aviano, Italy. For the Christmas holidays in 1984, my fiancé (now wife) and I visited them for two weeks and saw the sights. We hit Rome, Florence, and Venice in addition to the family holiday festivities.

Just before we returned to school, I went down to the base liquor store and loaded up on Amaretto Di Saronno®. They were three bucks each and I crammed four bottles into my carry-on bag. Since my dad was military I had to fly back on one of those over-crowded charter airlines that contract to the Department of Defense for moving military families back and forth. I think it was called ScreamingBabyAir or something. Anyways, I missed my connection in Philadelphia and the airline put me up in a motel for the night with a complete stranger.

The next morning we took a hotel van shuttle back to the airport. Before I could run around back to get my bags, the driver had tossed them onto the curb shattering one of the bottles. All I could do was race to the airport bathroom and pour spilled liqueur out of the bag and fish all the glass shards out of the bottom. For the rest of the trip my luggage reeked of boozy almonds.

Amaretto quickly became my favorite after dinner drink. Our wedding cake was amaretto flavored and was the best wedding cake I have ever had. At fancy restaurants I cringe when I order my little snifter of amaretto neat and it costs more than double or triple what I paid for those bottles from Italy. Nearly twenty-five years later, I am now down to just a finger or two left in the last remaining bottle.

Today my wife and I will be winging our way back to Italy for our Spring Break vacation because it's time to pick up some more Amaretto. Somehow I doubt I can find such a good deal this time.


jfruh said...

Good to hear you still like Amaretto after having your whole luggage reeking of it. One summer when I was in college, I lived with my then girlfriend in a fraternity house as boarders; her parents were from the Phillipines and she liked cook with that fish sauce so popular in Southeast Asia. We had packed all our stuff in a trunk at the end of the semester to bring to the frat house, and along the way a bottle of that sauce broke. Everything we owned stank of it that whole summer, and the odor assaulted me anew every time I got home from class or work. It didn't help that our relationship kind of fell apart that summer either, so to this day I can't smell the stuff without having these terrible memories of that summer bubble up.

Enjoy spring break in Italy! I'm jealous ... our trip to Sicily last year was great, and now I want to go back to the north.

A Free Man said...

On a trip back to the UK from the US, I had a bottle of one of my favorite beers break in my luggage. Then I had to go and rent a car - reeking of beer. It's a good thing it was the UK rather than the US or I may not have gotten the car!

Anonymous said...

I love, love, LOVE Amaretto. Something else to add to our comparison table.

Have a great time in Italy.

yellojkt said...

In Vietnam, fish sauce is call nuoc mam and it does smell awful. We cook with it, but opening the bottle is a test.