It’s May 2010, and we’re sitting on a pergola covered terrace, grape vines haphazardly interwoven across it, letting the sunshine stream in between. It’s the siesta hours of the day. We casually lunch over the best charcuterie of your life and glasses of aged chianti. All while overlooking the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside. This is what life in Italy was for me. It was amazing. It was everything that Pinterest and Instagram allude to be.
AND it was where I met some of the best people in the whole world.
While this could easily be an article reliving my former years, it’s actually a piece about a good friend of mine who I met in said season in my life.
His name is Max, and even then, he had big dreams for his life.
Max always wanted to do things better. He found niche problems, areas of interest, or troubles- and then analytically figured out how to fix them, while also making them better. He was THE BEST partner to have for our study abroad projects haha. But also, you could tell he had that entrepreneurial spirit running through him.
Post college he traveled the world, finding and fixing problems. He would touch base every now and then, telling me his ideas on how to make the world a better place. There was lots of delicious food and drink involved- Anthony Bourdain would have been proud. While I lived vicariously through his IG between diaper changes and naps.
Over time, as Moms know, we begin to see less and less of the fun & young content we once knew and loved, and see more ads for Pampers and Gerbers. My feed was taken over by Pinterest Moms and Disney travelers with tots.
I was so shocked (and pleased) when the Algorithm Gods decided to pop Max back into my Facebook feed, and there he was, launching his very own product!!
Because our family had launched our Amazon Products in 2021- I knew how amazing this accomplishment was. The time and effort it takes: from hours upon hours of product research, finding and evaluating vendors, locating the right suppliers, people, and markets.
Add in Max’s particular skill and eye for detail, and you can appreciate the painstaking effort and love that went into it.
I congratulated him profusely and let him know how excited and proud I was of him. I didn’t have to taste the product to know it would be good. I was just thrilled for a friend- and after 2020, the world needed more kindness.
Max sent me a bottle of his new adventure, Le Moné it was called, an apéritif. Very fitting to the culture that I had come to associate with Max and a few of our other travel friends. Aperitif by definition is an alcoholic drink taken before a meal to stimulate the appetite (Oxford English Dictionary).
I did a live unboxing a while back, many of you probably remember it. I was SO nervous to do it because honestly, I was worried I would HATE IT!!!!
How unitalian of me (note- I’m not italian, but living there for a spell- I feel as if I SHOULD appreciate this…) but i absolutely HATE limoncello, and I was worried Max’s new ‘baby” that he was so proud of would be terrible, and my disgusted face would be all over the internet saying that very same thing.
LUCKILY, it was absolutely delicious. But I find that story SUPER funny now. And whenever someone comes over and we share a taste as a before dinner drink, I always lead in with that story. My friends and family are new to the aperitif world, and always hesitate like I did, that it will taste like limoncello.
So, on to Le Moné.
This aperitif is the most amazingly refreshing drink I’ve ever tasted. It is light and zesty the way that a lemon peel should be, but sweet like a juicy grape- it literally puts sunshine in your mouth. Ya know, those times where you can taste a smell? Well Le Moné helps you taste a color lol.
My husband and I tasted it straight up over ice so we could really get down to the flavor profile. It’s interesting because where you expect it to be bitter and sour from the Meyer Lemons, it’s actually pleasantly sweet. Y’all already know that I hate overly sweet, since I follow a low carb diet- and Le Moné was just enough to cut the tartness of the lemons, without being too much- insert the organic blue agave. This amazing addition to Le Moné ads just the right amount of sweetness.
Since our initial trial, we have had it in a number of things. In the winter I added it to a cup of Christmas Tea for a holiday drink that was not going to get me hammered at 4pm. I’ve also added it to margaritas, Cranberry Spritzers, Old Fashioneds, and even a “Jingle All the Way.” (A fun cocktail that we know and love from The Gris menu at the holidays at The Griswold Inn. I’ll share the scoop closer to the holidays- so be sure to jump on my email list!!)
Le Moné shocked me with just how much I enjoyed it, and just how much it is NOT like limoncello. Where limoncello is bitter, Le Moné is sweet. Where limoncello is tart, Le Moné is smoothe. Where Limoncello is definitely better consumed as a shot, Le Moné is much better sipped casually with friends.
And even more shocking, my husband loved it (He’s more of a craft beer guy). And my sister, who is a straight up religious Vodka drinker- asked for seconds!
A crowd pleasure for sure, Le Moné needs to be a staple in everyone’s bar. A friendly low ABV offering for friends- whether it be a before dinner cocktail, or a summer sipper in the backyard. The versatility of Le Mone continues to astound me- and we will for sure be adding all of the flavors to our bar, so we can mix up a bunch of refreshing summer favorites for our friends.
And, now you have a fun backstory to tell when sharing with your friends, about a really cool guy named Max- who went for his dreams.
You can find all of Le Moné ‘s renditions here: https://bit.ly/LeMone-Hotmesswithgrace
Don’t worry if you can’t find your state! They are growing like crazy, so just pop on their email list so you’ll know as soon as they expand to your area!! It’s totally worth the wait!!
And if you do pick up a bottle, send me a DM or tag me in your post so we can chat about it! I want to hear what you think too!!!