Monday, May 3, 2010


"Danger, Danger," Will Robinson!

Do Not Pass Go! Do Not Collect $200

I'm up early this Back-to-Work Monday with a roiling stomach and a warning: Beware the Demon that comes dressed as a good deed. No good can come of it. Unless a diet of Pepto and Tums really is "your kinda thing."

Do you remember the line "good things come in small packages?" It's a line I used often while dating -- without much success. But -- as it turns out -- I have just that thing sitting in my outdoor freezer at the moment.

It is a bottle of Limoncello that was gifted to me by a gardening friend -- who literally spent hours slaving away in the kitchen to prepare this after-dinner *liqueur* classic that is though to have orginated in Southern Italy. Traditionally -- it is made from the Sorrento lemon -- though most lemons will produce satisfactory limoncello.

Here -- in California -- the "lemon of choice" is one of the best I have ever tasted: Improved Meyer Lemon.

In a nutshell? This is one wild drink. But let this be a warning to you.


I didn't do that. And now I'm paying for it. It's ten days later -- and I'm still paying the bill. I wonder what my doctor will tell me later this morning?

So -- what went wrong? First -- you must understand what goes into the crafting of "Limoncello." Obviously -- it uses lemons. Not just lemon juice -- which is used -- but the rind of the lemon also plays a key role. This particular Limoncello is also crafted with Everclear -- a 100% wood grain alcohol -- and Vodka.

What does this mean? Well -- if you put a bottle of this stuff in the freezer? It doesn't freeze. That was the first warning that I chose to ignore. The second warning that I also ignored? Limoncello is "an after dinner liqueur that guests are to sip."

Did you say chug? No? What does sip mean? "I can sip mighty fast," ma'am.

Venus and I made the rather fateful decision to break into our special concoction of "lightning in a bottle" a week ago last Friday -- after we had consumed more than a few mixed drinks of the finest gin sold in a plastic bottle. Dinner -- we figured -- would come later.


It only took one quick shot before we both knew that we had something good on our hands. Sip? Please! Let us remember that I'm Irish. The words "sip" and "alcohol" in the same sentence represent an oxymoron. Besides -- this stuff was far too good to just "sip." One shot of Limoncello demanded another.

It was at this point where Venus made the fateful (and smart) decision to retire for the evening and left her very tipsy husband alone with a shot glass and an open bottle of Limoncello. I am almost positive that I didn't consume more than one or two more shots (a total of three?) before retiring myself -- but then again -- who really knows?

You can probably guess what happened the following morning? Both the lovely wife and I awoke to stomach aches crafted carefully in the Bowels of Hell. The failure to properly read and follow label directions left both of us with holes in our stomachs -- and breakfast that morning was served with a heapin' helpin' of Dr. Tums and Pepto Dismal.

But -- unlike normal hangovers -- this one persisted into Sunday. Certainly -- the pain would end by the start of the work week -- right? Fat chance! Monday came and went -- as did Tuesday -- and my stomach continued to feel like the doozy that Robert Mitchum suffered from in the 1966 John Wayne Classic: El Dorado.

Thornton (John Wayne): “Either one of you know a fast way to sober a man up?”

MISSISSIPPI (James Caan): "Johnny Diamond had a recipe. Let’s see. Cayenne pepper, mustard--the hot kind, ipecac, asafetida, and oil of cloves… or was it? No, it was croton oil."

BULL (Arthur Hunnicutt): Croton oil?! I’ll be a suck-egg mule. You know what that mixture’ll do to a fella?

MISSISSIPPI: Guaranteed kill or cure.
After feeding this mixture (which also contained gunpowder) to Mitchum -- our hero spends the rest of the flick doubled over in pain. Although our Limoncello contained none of these ingredients -- I now know just how our hero felt.
I should have purchased stock in Tums.
I'm not sure exactly when Bill Bird's stomach will start to feel normal again. Certainly -- the pain isn't as bad as it was last week -- and the wife has all but recovered from her malady. The bottle of Limoncello -- meanwhile -- sits in our freezer as a warning.
Label directions are to be READ and FOLLOWED.


Fred Hoffman said...

Bill Bird, reading and following label instructions?

Greg Damitz said...

When I was young I a favorite drink was Everclear and Hawaiian Punch. We used to say, "Watch out Punchie's going to get you."

Bill Bird said...

Punchy got me. Oh yeah, punchy got me but good. Even the doctor had a good laugh. Hopefully -- the pain will pass soon.

Trevor said...

For what it's worth, you're glad you didn't have wood alcohol ... which is methanol ... which is the stuff that makes you go blind. It's just "grain" alcohol. "Wood grain" is what is simulated in your Hyundai.

Waiting for my own Improved Meyers to start producing ... shouldn't be more than a year or two now.