A light, dry, modestly alcoholic beverage meant to spark the appetite before dinner. Basically it acts as a kindling the same way you use foreplay before sex.
Typically an aperitif consists of a singular ingredient paired with a citrus zest, served on the rocks to become stimulation in a glass. At the moment four types are flooding the foodie taste palettes: Vermouths, Americanos, Fortified Wines, and Bitter Liqueurs.
But the classic is that age old battle: Campari vs. Aperol
Campari is a ruby red Italian beverage whose recipe is kept tightly under wraps–but most mixologists believe that this concoction includes rhubarb and ginseng, owing to its quite bitter flavor.
Aperol, for the lighter palette, goes along quite well with this color scheme. It is a bright orange aperitif with a distinctly unique taste, thanks to infusions of bitters, sweet oranges, and many other herbs in perfect proportion.
Although they have different flavor profiles, the effect is surprisingly similar: a refreshing, ‘clean’ sensation at first; it provokes your taste buds and finishes with a hint of bitter delight.
But an aperitif should never be limited to a choice of two. Vermouth, a vital component of the infamous Martini and Manhattan cocktails, is the perfect way to begin a night of savory indulgence on it’s own. Dolin Dry Vermouth has become one of the most popular choices because of its distinct aromatic flavor and lemon-like finish.
Cocchi Americano is a white wine infusion with a vibrant, bright feel. It fools the nose with scents of lemon and orange, but glides over the tongue as herbs and spices that will leave you wondering how such complexity can feel so light and refreshing.
Byrrh is the aperitif that breaks the mold. It is a fortified red wine that remains airy. Byrrh is an extremely unique blend of flavors that includes quinine, a tree bark extract originally used to prevent and treat malaria. A remnant of port without the heavy feel, its bitter qualities suit a particular type of drinker.
Whatever your poison, an aperitif is designed to seduce the taste buds slowly and unassumingly… like a whiff of perfume or the slit of a dress. It can leave you hungry for more or call you onto something more satisfying, tapping into your desire before a meal might just quench your appetite a bit more deeply… like some other activities I can think of.