What is an aperitivo?
An aperitivo is usually an alcoholic beverage (but can also be non-alcoholic), generally served before a meal to stimulate the appetite, and is therefore usually dry rather than sweet.
What makes a good pre-dinner drink?
The key to a perfect pre-dinner drink is having the right balance between the ingredients used to create it. Aperitivi such as Campari, dry vermouth and gin tend to be bitter to wake up the palate and digestive system, making them ready for the meal ahead.
What exactly is amaro?
Amaro is traditionally made by infusing grape brandy with a mix of herbs, aromatic bark, citrus peel and spices. The exact ingredients and volumes used within this mix are usually kept a secret and can vary from producer to producer. The mix is then sweetened with sugar syrup and aged, sometimes for years. Many of them are also infused in high-percentage alcohol and mixed with syrup after a certain time of infusion.
Which cocktails using amaro can I easily make at home?
One of the easiest cocktails to make at home, and a very popular one around the world, is the classic Aperol spritz, which can easily be adapted by switching up the type of amaro used to make the drink, instead of using Aperol. For example, it could be Cynar, Montenegro, Amaro del Capo, etc. We would recommend reducing the content of the amaro by half as the ones named are more bitter than Aperol.
Top 5 aperitivo recipes
1) Sherry negroni
Add a twist to a classic negroni with this sherry negroni recipe. Use 1 part fino sherry, 2 parts orloroso sherry and 2 parts sherry. Then combine with Campari, sweet vermouth and ice. Finish with a small piece of orange zest.
Try a classic cocktail like this zingy gimlet recipe. Start with shop-bought lime cordial or make your own lime syrup with just two limes and caster sugar. Mix the cordial with equal parts gin, lime juice and ice then garnish with a slice of lime or an edible flower.
3) Aperol spritz
Cool down on a hot summer's day with a refreshing Aperol spritz. Make two glasses with 100ml Aperol, 150ml prosecco and top up with soda. You can adjust these proportions to your liking. Finish with a handful of ice and citrus slices.
4) Vodka martini
You can't go wrong with a timeless cocktail such as a vodka martini. Stir vodka, dry vermouth and a little ice together or put them in a cocktail shaker to combine. Finish with an olive on a cocktail stick or a twist of lemon peel.
5) Perfect spritz
This floral perfect spritz is infused with fragrant lavender sprigs. Make a pitcher of drinks with equal parts red vermouth, white vermouth, gin and soda water or tonic water. Add some ice, lemon wedges and extra lavender.
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