Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Drinking Tips from Europe

Germans love their Italian. If you're not a fan of sauerkraut and pork in all its forms (mostly fatty and fried), there is definitely no shortage of Italian restaurants around. Our first month in Germany, my husband and I stayed in a small town near Mannheim called Viernheim and it seemed all they had were Italian restaurants. It's not unusual around here to have four Italian restaurants on one block. It makes me wonder what the hell all these Italians are doing here. Don't they know their country is cooler?
So with Italian restaurants come Italian drinks. Like Ramazzotti. Ramazzotti has made its way out of the trattatorias and into the bars. Don't let the Germans fool you. They're not just beer-guzzling lushes. It's how they get their Italian on in the bars as well because we all know that if we're approached with an Italian or a German of either sex which one comes from a long line of charmers.

Stereotypes aside, this is a good drink, usually served as a digestif. Only served in their own custom glasses which are slightly bigger than a shooter and slightly smaller than an orange juice glass, it's best accompanied by a slice of lemon or lime, and over ice, or straight. There's a sweetness to it that I cringe at relating to a cola, but only because I can't think of a better comparison. The liquor is the more powerful taste which has worked out a nice balance so that you don't feel like you're drinking candy. I'm not sure if we have it in the States. It's nothing I've ever noticed so if you've seen it, let me know.

There's an American aspect to the drink as well: if you drink so many bottles and are able to show your proof of purchase, you can collect a long line of merchandise. It reminds me of the Marlboro jackets and gym bags you'll see people carrying around every now and then. Nothing says "I love my body" more than a Marlboro gym bag. I don't know if you can still get that stuff or not, but I thought it was funny. That also reminds me that I recently discovered that Porsche has a line of pipes out that they've designed. For the smoking driver who, uh...understands...uh...aerodynamics as an important element of smoking when speeding down the highway in his or her Boxter convertible....or...something like that. Careful not to confuse the pipe with the gearshift!

Another experience at the wine fest in Bad Durkheim renewed my interest in Tequila. That's right. I had Tequila at the wine fest. Substitute cinnamon and an orange for the salt and the lemon and you'll see why. Aie! Aie! Aie!

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