In honor of National Aperitif Day (today, May 16), we'll be whetting our appetites with a light and refreshing predinner drink, and with these six enticing aperitif recipes, you can (and should) follow suit. From a bold and boisterous negroni to a delicate sparkling grapefruit and Lillet concoction, these easy-to-create cocktails are more than worth adding to your bartending repertoire.
Light, refreshing, and almost too easy to sip on, this sparkling Lillet aperitif is just the ticket for starting a weekend off on the right note. Even better, it clocks in at a mere four ingredients and requires naught but a languid stir in the glass and a quick swipe of a vegetable peeler along a juicy orange for the twist garnish.
If you're not yet familiar with the concept of the "elegant hour" — essentially cocktail hour, with an emphasis on delicate aperitifs — embrace the idea by sipping this sparkling stunner slowly.
I'm still rather novice to the category of spirits known as aperitifs. These old-school standbys — which include liqueurs, dry champagne, and fortified wines — rose to fame in Europe in the 1800s, and have remained popular ever since.
I'd made it my mission to educate myself in aperitif studies, and after professing my love for Dubonnet, I felt adventurous enough to move onto the Italian spirit known as Campari. Invented in 1860, this bitter, which is used in a slew of different cocktails, is made by infusing alcohol and water with fruit, bitter herbs, and aromatic plants. Campari on the rocks is far too bitter for me, but I loved its complex, fruity, slightly medicinal flavor in the Campari Breeze, a cocktail that's perfect for warm-weather days.
Ever since I got acquainted with Dubonnet, the old-school French aperitif has held a spot in my liquor cabinet. It also plays an important role in my drink of the moment.
I discovered the St. Tropez by reading the serving suggestions on the back of the Dubonnet label. With only two ingredients, it couldn't be more uncomplicated (in fact, the instructions for the drink are so casual that there are no measurements specified at all). Call me cheesy — and chalk it up to the cocktail's chic name, its effortless recipe, or the romanticism of European predinner drinks — but when I'm sipping on a St. Tropez, I immediately feel transported to the sun-soaked sands of the French Riviera.
I've enjoyed many variations of this at home and in bars, and found that I like it best with equal parts of the two ingredients. Find out what they are when you read more
I've always been a complete novice to the category of spirits known as aperitifs. These old-school standbys — which include liqueurs, dry champagne, and fortified wines — rose to fame in Europe in the 1800s, and have remained popular ever since.
When I received a bottle of Dubonnet ($11.99), I decided to begin my aperitif studies. The French fortified wine, originally developed in 1846, is available in two varieties: rouge and blanc. Dubonnet is made from wine that's had additional alcohol added to it, which preserves the wine, makes it sweeter, and increases its alcohol content.
I've always thought of Dubonnet — a proprietary blend of herbs, spices, and peels — as something more fitting for my grandmother. But surprisingly, my first sip was warm and rich, and had a nose and flavor that reminded me of tawny port. It was sweeter than brandy, yet drier than a dessert wine, and incredibly smooth given its price tag.
I'm looking forward to drinking some again tonight and can't wait to experiment with Dubonnet in classic cocktails. If you've ever tried this aperitif, what are your thoughts on it? Have you ever tasted a spirit that was incredibly different from what you thought it would be?