I’m not a huge fan of liqueurs, as a general rule. But limoncello is an exception to that rule. Has been for over 15 years.

I do find it too syrup-y and sweet, and all the things about most liquor that, if you’re like me, add up to a big turn-off. But limoncello is … special.

In 2001 I was laid off from I refer to 2001 as the “dot bomb era”. A lot of those in tech would lose their jobs that year. My boyfriend happened to also work for Amazon, and was also laid off, so between the two of us we experienced a windfall of a little over $20,000USD.

So we got our passports, bought rail passes and all the Lonely Planets, and off we went to learn things.

We landed in London and spent a little time there. Then moving through The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, and Italy, eventually departing Rome.

By the time we got to Spain, we really needed our Spanish, which sucked because we totally didn’t have any. But we tried. One night we decided we’d go to dinner and only, ONLY speak Spanish to the waiter. It took (I’m not even kidding) three tries, but we finally got our rum and Cokes, and I did end up with accidental rabbit for dinner. But, we tried.

At the end of dinner, out came the check, plus two shots of what turned out to be limoncello. It was delicious and we were really thankful for a gift! He must have understood what we were doing… he must be rewarding us! (“You like us! You really like us!”)

So… actually this happens literally everywhere in Europe. At the end of every dinner. Like, all of them. The courtesy shot of limoncello is almost a foregone conclusion, like a handshake when meeting someone new.

But not for us. We were on Cloud 9.

Imagine our surprise when it happened again the next day!

By the third day, language barrier aside, we were finally up to speed: this is a thing they do here. Got it.

And our menage a trois with limoncello bloomed all summer long, from Madrid to Rome, with home-spun batches in every restaurant from Pamplona to Firenze.

Every one’s a little different, but it’s all unmistakably limoncello.


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