Grappa at the Greco

Caffe Greco, Italy Via Condotti, Rome by Dan Morey
Caffe Greco, Via Condotti, Rome by Dan Morey

“What kind of grappa, s-s-sir?”

“I don’t know. The regular kind.”

He sighed and scribbled something on a ticket.

“Give me a coffee,” said Mother. “I don’t want any of that grappa stuff.”

The cashier closed his eyes. “What kind of coffee, s-s-signora?”

“The regular kind.”

“Caffe Americano,” he said, dashing off another ticket.

I paid him and returned to the bar, where the barman took my tickets and threw them under the counter without even looking at them. Before I could speak, he spun around, filled two glasses with clear alcohol, and presented them to me with a flourish.

“Your grappas, sir. Enjoy!”

He seemed so pleased, and the line behind me was so long, that I couldn’t bear to tell him he’d made a mistake. I took the grappa to Mother and she said, “What the hell is that?”

“Your grappa, s-s-signora,” I said.

“Where’s my coffee?”

“The bartender screwed up. You’re actually getting a deal — grappa costs twice as much as coffee.”

“Yeah,” she said. “But I don’t want it.”

“C’mon. You know what Rick Steves says in these situations.”

“No, what does Rick Steves say?”

“Good travel means give it a go!”

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