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.
As the weather warms, turn to a classic Italian aperitif, the Bicyclette, as your go-to cocktail. This orange-hued drink is both bracing and slightly bitter, which makes it perfect for whetting appetites before bar snacks or dinner. The best part? All you really need is three ingredients that you probably already have at home. Keep watching to learn how to make this picnic-perfect tipple.
This year, serve a classic cocktail that'll whet your guests' appetites before the next big feast. For a drink that'll truly kick-start the appetite, we recommend the bitter Italian drink known as the Negroni — and a two-ingredient appetizer to go along with it. Though this cocktail (which was purportedly invented by a Florentine count!) isn't for the faint of heart, we'd argue that once you fall for it, there's no going back. Watch our latest episode of Happiest Hour for an easy drink (and bite) to add a punch to this holiday's entertaining.
Penélope Cruz has officially made her debut in Campari's 2013 "Kiss Superstition Goodbye" calendar. The Italian spirits brand released 13 images from the limited-edition annual yesterday, all of which feature the Oscar-winning actress participating in superstitious acts like breaking mirrors, walking under ladders, opening umbrellas indoors, and more. Penélope was announced as the calendar's star back in August, and she got to work shooting the then-secret theme in Milan. She recently told Elle magazine that posing for the infamous calendar was like "saying goodbye to fear."
Penélope returned to Italy last week to promote her latest film, Twice Born. She was also on hand to help husband Javier Bardem celebrate the release of Skyfall while he did press for the Bond movie in Paris. Penélope added even more to her workload with news that she's the new face of Spanish leather goods brand Loews, which comes out next week.
Until recently, I assumed that Campari and its slightly milder cousin Aperol were love-it-or-hate-it aperitifs. But after cautiously trying a sip (and then another) of an expertly mixed Negroni while out to dinner one night, I discovered that, like many of the finer things in life, these bittersweet spirits are an acquired taste.
Since then, I've been sipping, swirling, and nibbling on everything and anything Italian, bittersweet, and glowingly bright red-orange. But tempted as I may be by riffs on the classic, I keep coming back to my first love: the negroni. Complex and with a heady perfume, this classic cocktail somehow seems appropriate year-round. Its bitterness helps to refresh the palate between bites of fatty braised meats come Fall and Winter, and when temperatures rise, it acts as internal air conditioning. A word of caution: this beverage is 100 percent alcohol, so pace yourself, lest you feel 100 percent awful come the next morning.
I've never been drawn to premade margarita, sweet and sour, and bloody mary mixes, mostly because I can make the aforementioned from scratch. Needless to say, I was hesitant when I heard about The Perfect Purée, a Napa Valley-based company that produces a wide range of exotic fruit purées designed for combining into beverages. That is, until I tried one in a cocktail.
If you can't locate, say, white peaches, yuzu, or blood oranges in your area, this product is truly the next best thing. Unlike most other cocktail blends out there, these purées are extracted from fresh fruit and flash-frozen to preserve freshness.
At a recent tasting, this cocktail — an eclectic recipe of tequila, apple brandy, and Campari with passionfruit, pomegranate, and blood orange purée — was so enjoyable that I asked the company for the recipe. Here it is.
Whether it's unseasonably cold or hot, the silver lining of wonky weather is the chance to cook outside the norm. Before a front of wet and cold blew into San Francisco yesterday, the city was undeniably hotter and sunnier than usual. That was all the excuse I needed to whip up a simple cocktail of white wine and the bitter apéritif Campari over crushed ice.
The bicyclette, a favorite of famed chef Fergus Henderson, is easy on the stomach, but boozy enough to lift the mood on the damper known as daytime tax filing. My mind was busy filling out those 1040s, but my inner spirit was channeling the drink's native Italy. For the no-recipe recipe, keep on reading.
It's hard to believe, but thanks to a very Indian Summer, Left Coasters are lucky enough to still be enjoying some lingering warm October afternoons. I was a privileged partaker at a recent Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur party where guests basked in sun at a bocce ball court with bright, citrusy cocktails in hand.
My favorite refreshment? A Sicilian cooler, served straight from the skilled hand of San Francisco bartender Jackie Patterson. With a reverent nod to Italy, she played up the naturally floral, piquant, and slightly bitter flavors of blood oranges with Solerno, Campari, and lemon juice. For a sip that'll transport you to the streets of Palermo, read more.
Aida Mollenkamp's blog and came across two wonderful cocktail recipes. She was celebrating the launch of the Cooking Channel and her new show, Food Crafters. Since they both had cherries, this month's featured fruit, I took a closer look to see what other ingredients the drinks involved. Luckily, I happened to have all of the elements for the cherry sour at home! It's a fruity, well-balanced cocktail with a wonderful complexity that I thoroughly enjoyed. The addition of Campari makes it a delightful aperitif that pairs well with chunks of Parmesan cheese and peppered salami. To give her cocktail a try, check out the easy recipe now.
Following the recent deep cleaning of my refrigerator, I've been making a concerted effort to use up all the ingredients I have in my house before buying anything new. Now, at least a couple times a week, before I decide what to make, I go hunting in my pantry and refrigerator to see which items I've already got.
Yesterday, I had a hankering for a fruity cocktail and got creative with the beverages under my roof. I used pineapple juice left over from Singapore slings, some Grey Goose, and a splash of an Italian aperitif. The result was ultra-refreshing, with a nice layer of citrusy bitterness courtesy of the Campari.
In honor of the beautiful San Francisco Sunday, I named it Sunday Best. For the easy recipe, keep reading.