In every town, city and bar in Italy, you will find people having a pre-dinner/lunch drink. This is called an aperitif and it is said to ‘open the stomach’ so you are ready for your main meal! The Italians love their traditions and socialising before going home for lunch or dinner or at the weekend when meeting friends. This has become one of my rituals every time I go to Italy – I love sitting outside my favourite bars and meeting my friends and family for a chat and a drink – aperitivo time could be all day for me – I just love this social experience.
The aperitivo is believed to have initiated in Piedmont in the 18th century, when King Vittorio Emanuele II embraced a spiced white wine called vermouth as his pre-dinner drink of choice. He claimed that the special combination of fortified white wine and various herbs and spices stimulated the appetite and was more suitable for ladies to drink than red wine. It thus became one of the first popular aperitivo drinks.
There are a plethora of choices of aperitifs in Italy – they take this ritual very seriously. An aperitivo is quintessentially Italian and usually consists of a drink and some delicious nibbles – mini forms of snacks. It can be as basic as nuts, olives, procutto, cheese and crisps or more elaborate with: panzarotte, fiieselle, toasted sandwiches, crudities and dips and crostini – just about anything but in miniature!
An Aperol Spritz is one of the more recent, well known aperitifs. It has a bitter taste and is made of gentian, rhubarb, and cinchona, among other ingredients. It has a vibrant orange hue. Its name comes from the French slang word for aperitif, which is apero. It is less bitter than another well-known aperitif: Campari.
This is the recipe approved by the IBA: The international bartender association – but of course, we have our must-try variation!
FILL A WHITE WINE GLASS WITH ICE
ADD 9cl TERRE DI SAN VITO’S TERRE BRUT SPARKLING WHITE WINE
ADD 2 PARTS OF APEROL (6CL)
AND 1 SPLASH OF SODA/TONIC (3CL)
MIX WELL WITH A SPOON OR COCKTAIL SPOON!
GARNISH WITH AN ORANGE SLICE
So to be honest, I don’t always add the tonic/soda, it depends on the time of day! Without the tonic/soda, it is a bit stronger in taste and alcohol value but it is delicious. Try it with and without the tonic/soda.
Serve with a bottle of our fabulous Terre Di San Vito’s Terre Brut Sparkling White Wine