Despite its ancient roots, the aperitif is still a part of French, Italian, and Spanish gastronomic tradition today.
A large number of people often get together to enjoy a shared food and/or drink moment.
The French prefer white port wines, vermouths, Dubonnet, St. Raphael, Lillet, or simply a glass of dry white wine or a flute of sparkling wine like Prosecco or dry champagne. Of late diluted cognac is being promoted to encourage increase consumption and sales.
Italians tend to favour Cynar, an artichoke based drink, or Campari or even the bitter Fernet Branca, although of late a glass of Prosecco seems to be the preferred drink of the young and upcoming crowd.
Spanish have always stuck to their dry Sherries and tapas.
There is no end to celebrate an occasion – a new job, a birth, an anniversary, a new girl- or boyfriend, or a break-up.
The word originates from “apero” to open. Before a meal, if you take a low alcohol, dry drink (all aperitifs are low alcohol and those that are not, are diluted) your appetite suddenly becomes alive. It is the acidity of the drink that triggers the sudden appearance of your appetite.
Strong cocktails like extra dry martini, manhattan, and the like, are too alcoholic and numb the palate, particularly if you indulge in more than one.
Bloody Mary or bloody Caesar are too rich and may hamper your appetite.
Next time you feel peckish around 11 a m, try a glass of dry sherry with a nibble, as the English do, or around 4 – 5 p m as a pick-me-up.
These short convivial breaks work wonders for friendships, relaxatio9n and invigoration.
Civilized societies favour aperitifs.