Today, May 26th, marks the first World Aperitivo Day. The drink category can trace its history back over 2000 years and it’s one well worth celebrating.
Coming from the Latin term “to open,” an aperitivo is a pre-dinner drink and drinking ritual native to Italy. Aperitivos are a lighter alcoholic drink with a low-abv traditionally enjoyed with light bites or snacks such as olives or arancini during the early evening between work and dinner. While the concept has long been a part of European culture, drinks like the negroni and the spritz have further introduced the US and the rest of world to this beloved Italian ritual. With an aperitivo festival set to launch in 2023, it looks like it’s here to stay.
For those looking to celebrate or just revel in a bit of tradition on the first World Aperitivo Day, we have four favorites that we think are well worth trying:
- Campari – the best known of all may be Campari. A bitter liqueur invented in 1860 by Gaspare Campari in Novara, Piedmont, Italy, the vibrant red drink is one of the bases for the iconic Negroni–of which the brand recently released a pre-batched bottling. It boasts a strong bittersweet flavor with notes of orange peel, cherry, clove, and cinnamon.
- Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto – a delicate, floral liqueur created by the authority on Italian spirits, Giuseppe Gallo. Italicus is made using the humble bergamot fruit, grown and harvested in the UNESCO protected region of Calabria in Italy. Its striking blue bottle features design elements from iconic Italian architecture and the liquid inside takes inspiration from a rosolio recipe dating back to the 19th century.
- Select – the classic Venetian aperitivo, created in 1920 in the Castello district at Pilla Distilleries. A precise selection of 30 botanicals undergo a complex process to achieve the distinctive, well-balanced bittersweet taste of Select Aperitivo. With its sophisticated aromatic profile and a rich red hue, Select Aperitivo is the essential ingredient for making the Original Venetian Spritz.
- Amaro Montenegro – made using a secret recipe remaining unchanged since its creation 136 years ago. Amaro Montenegro is an Italian bitter herbal liqueur out of Bologna, Italy. It features the essence of 40 botanicals from around the globe. What distinguishes it from other herbaceous liqueurs is its beautifully balanced bitter-sweet flavor and complex taste.
- 1 ounce gin
- 1 ounce Campari
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth
- Garnish: orange peel
Method: Add the gin, Campari and sweet vermouth to a mixing glass filled with ice, and stir until well-chilled. Strain into a rocks glass filled with large ice cubes. Garnish with an orange peel.
- 1 part Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto
- 2 parts Prosecco (or Champagne)
- Glass: Wine glass
- Ice: Cube
- Garnish: Three olives
Method: Serve in a tumbler glass with cubed ice and garnish with olives
- 2 oz Select Aperitivo
- 3 oz Chilled Prosecco
- 1 oz Soda Water
- Glass: Cocktail glass
- Ice: Cube
- Garnish: Castelvetrano olive or green olives
Method: Starting with the prosecco, pour over ice and stir gently. Garnish with a large Castelvetrano Olive or other green olive.
Monte & Tonic
- 2 oz Amaro Montenegro
- 4 oz Tonic
- Glass: Tumbler
- Ice: Cube
- Garnish: Orange slice
Method: Pour ingredients over ice in a tumbler, stir gently and garnish with an orange slice.