Just got back from visiting the in-laws just outside of Pisa Italy. The food as usual was awesome. The booze situation is quite interesting...
If I ever move to Italy I am going to open a chain of Liquor and wine stores, because the selection in any given location is so spotty. Even the local IperCoop only has some things.
You really have to seek out some of the specialty wine/gourmet shops to get the really good stuff. I found one place in Lucca that had all sorts of exotic rum bottlings that I had never even seen here in the states... very pricey, but some very exotic bottlings from small and large producers. The 15 year El Dorado that I pay $35 for here was 50 Euro...
I'm not a fan of Carpano Antico Vermouth, too bitter for me. But scored a bottle of the Carpano Classico, which is not available in the USA for 8 Euro. All of the wonderful richness and complexity of Carpano Antico, without the (to me) overwhelming bitter notes. Great stuff and made a GREAT Manhattan with some Evan Williams...
Fernet Branca for 8.99 Euro. Same for Branca Menta.
Scored a nice bottle of Fabbri Orzata (hello Mai tai) for 4 Euro.
Cointreau was 9. Why do we have to pay $30 plus for Fernet and Cointreau here in the USA?
My father in law also got me a barrel aged grappa, and two really nice Italian Brandies.
The great cocktails with these new ingredients are just starting to flow.
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