tuaca, a fine italian liqueur
beautiful what does your name mean?" "Is that native American?"
"African?" "Japanese?" "Tuaca, like the alcohol?" "Were your parents
hippies?" "Were they drinking it when you were conceived?"
"Have you ever tried it?" "Like in Fried Green Tomatoes?" "No really,
what is your real name? Let me see your driver's license!" "Well
what's your stage name?" "I bet you get asked this question all the
time; do you get tired of it?"
I could continue with examples in this vain, yet knowing you're an
intelligent and gentle soul, I'll only continue with the story, a true
story where answers will appear like (insert metaphor here). So finish
brushing your teeth, put on your pajamas and hop into your bed,
hammock, cot, tatami mat or whichever sleeping spot finds you each
sunset. Now, scoot along and groom. I'll be here sipping tea. Ah,
nice a clean? Fine, let's continue.
Long, long ago during the renaissance of Italy a lightly sweet
amber-colored Italian liqueur based on fine, cask-aged brandy
possessing a rich fruit-like flavor or vanilla and citrus was off the
hizzie! This elegant concoction, was one to truly behold and enjoy. I
wonder what creating it was like. That day of discovery, may or may
not have looked exactly like this:
1601 Tuscany region, Italy. Francesco and Lucianno were brothers who
began their baking shift each morning at 3:00, no 4:00, no 5:00, in
their family's house where they lived and worked. Taking their second
breakfast, sipping brandy and eating mixed fruit pie, Lucianno motioned
to Franesco for some fresh milk.
Lucianno - 24 year old. Olive skin, lithe body, happy and passionate.
His hair is unkempt yet his glowing smile takes the attention away from
his bohemian appearance. He is slouched over his pie plate sharing the
large wooden table with his younger brother Francesco.
Lucianno: Hey "Cesco", give me tha milk!
Francesco - 23 years old. Olive skin, lithe body, happy and
passionate. Kept his hair short like his favourite stage actor who
also worked as a waiter in a neighboring village. Franceso fancied
himself a great opera singer too yet each time he went to sing, his
brother would pull his shirt over his head.
Francesco: Get it yourself, it is closer to you!
Lucianno: Why you gotta be like a goat?
Francesco: You're a goat!
A brotherly wrestling match instantly ensued: milk, brandy, vanilla and
orange essense magically wound up in a bottle and Tuaca was born!
Okay, I don't know the exact details of HOW Tuaca the fine Liquor
Italiano was created, just when and where. It was very popular in its
time among the passionate Tuscan people. Bravo!
Hundreds of years later, Gaetono Tuoni & Giorgio Canepa imported Tuaca
to the US. I was told by a family friend of Tuoni & Canepa that they
combined their names together and made up "Tuaca". The "Tu" obviously
from "Tu" in "TUoni" and the subsequent letters pulled from "CAnepA".
In the 1970s, Tuaca was the new drink, often found on the bar near the
Uzo and Kahlua though they taste nothing alike. Tuaca is a milk-brandy
with essence of vanilla and orange. Oaxaca is a town in Mexico and
Chewbacca is a fictional character. See, they taste nothing alike.
So my mother, while pregnant with me was at Guliver's Bar with my
would-be God Mother "HL" who was dating the bartender there. He
introduced Tuaca the liqueur to his girlfriend and my Mother. On the
spot, my Mother said, "I'm going to have a daughter and her name is
I've had Tuaca once in my life. As a child, I made a date with my
Mother to have Tuaca together for the first time on my 21st birthday.
I'm happy to report that I did like the warmth, body and flavor of
Tuaca - had three shots and inverted my glass. Drinking, isn't my
thing despite the fact that I am a second-generation American of Irish
& German descent.
Yes, I am named truly named after the fine Italian liqueur by my
hippie Mother - as printed on my birthday certificate, baptismal
certificate, GED & future awards. Incidentally, "Towanda" is the
war-cry popularized by the movie based on the book written by Fannie
Flag: "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe'"
Drink responsibly with compliments and only when you're feeling happy.
- Tuaca Kelly