By Kyle Peacock
Kicking off a good night always involves letting loose and enjoying the company of friends. The best part about friendship is the ability to bond over just about anything. Some groups of friends bond over video games or sports; others bond over school activities or clubs. Then there are the ones who bond over the sweet nectar from the gods: liquor.
Since this post is all about me, I will be taking a deep dive into my favorite item here in Arezzo. This story is a bit of a joke, but there is a good message to go with it, so stick with me. Believe it or not, Kyle's Choice of favorite drinks in Italy is a Jack and Coke: the most American thing you can order besides a hot dog with ketchup and mustard.
Since this drink is so American, it starts a conversation every time I order it. This drink is how I met one of my now good friends, Ivol. He owns the bar Insomnia located in Arezzo with his two best friends. He tells me that while he doesn’t make a lot of money and they have a lot of debt, he still enjoys every moment working in the bar.
When I started talking to his group of friends, the first thing they asked me was what I wanted to drink. Before I could take a breath, they were filling the air with jokes about Jack and Coke. I decided to play along.
The color of the drink makes you think it’s just an average soda. Maybe it’s a little more flat than you typically like your sodas, but it’s still a soda. It isn't until you get a whiff of cleaning solution that you realize the leap you are about to take. The smell your dad had when you were little. Saying goodnight and beginning to realize just what your parents are doing when going out.
The taste somehow matches the smell exactly. It’s the taste of trees and maple syrup coating the entire surface of your mouth. This experience is the one time you notice the smoothness of the top of your mouth. The sweet maple taste that typically accompanies warm pancakes is now mixed with cold ice and sugary Coca-Cola.
The taste makes you feel old, as if you grew a beard overnight. If you need a confidence boost for the night, having a Jack and Coke can lift your spirits and restore your manhood. This feeling is the reason why I played along with the jokes from my new friends at Insomnia.
This drink made me feel older. I was hanging out with older guys and girls and I didn’t want to feel like the little cousin that is forced to hang out with you. We bonded over the drink, and it ended up becoming a staple in our friendship. I have seen them many times since then and they always remember to get me a Jack and Coke.
Kyle’s choice isn’t Italian. It may seem a bit counter intuitive, but let me explain. Jack and Coke brought two groups of people together that normally would have only looked at each other with blank stares. This poorly mixed alcoholic beverage has power that people don’t normally recognize.
Sure, I could write about the pizza I ate, or better yet, the pasta! I bet you weren’t expecting that in a story about Italian cuisine! However, I’ve come to see that Italy is more than just pizza and pasta. It’s people looking for friends, people looking for laughs and people looking for Jack and Coke.
Editors: Grace Tipps, Aly O'Shea, Taylor Glissman
Photographer: Kaiden Patch