I was going to start this article with, "It's no secret that I'm a fan of all things Italian..." but maybe it is a secret. It makes sense to believe that our regional buyers at K&L would drink mainly the products that they are researching because it's their specialty. However, I think that champagne buyer Gary Westby drinks more Burgundy than Champagne and I, for one, drink far more Italian wine than Scotch whisky. In fact, it would be my dream to one day help with the Italian wine buying here at K&L. Having been to Italy numerous times, I simply relate to the Italian way of life and have completely incorporated my experiences abroad into my domestic routine. With the exception of espresso (which sadly turns my natural high energy level into a neurotic supernova), I am enamored with the various pre and post meal rituals that make dining that much more fun. My culinary productions are almost exclusively olive oil and garlic based, so the high acid content of sangiovese and vermentino makes for quite a complementary pairing. However, before every meal I'm usually drinking an Americano - Campari and sparkling water with a twist of orange. The bittersweet flavors of the Italian amari are just what I need to awaken my suppressed appetite that would rather be eating at 4 PM instead of 7:30. If I'm really in the mood to guzzle, I'll build a perfect Negroni to get my buzz on while I cook - 1 oz. gin, 1 oz. Campari, 1 oz. Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, stirred with ice and strained - and relish the combination of two Italian liqueurs mixed with London's driest spirit. After I've finished my meal, it's only appropriate to set the grappa glasses by each setting and pour a small shot of our finest Piedmonte producer's most floral distillation - the Marolo Grappa di Moscato. Made from the aromatic must of Muscat skins, this is not the firewater or gasoline-infused torture that many American tourists remember from their experiences of red-checkered tablecloths and straw-covered Chianti bottle candles. This is delicacy and purity of flavor - the fruity and zesty essence of Moscato as represented by the pot still. Italian spirits make Italain food - already one of life's great pleasures - even better. Try designing your whole meal around this type of theme and you'll really start to appreciate those precious hours of free time after work. You can always do Lillet, Bordeaux, and Calvados, too!