A Guide to Refreshing Aperitivo Trends

Written by
Vintage Cellars
October 12, 2017
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At this time of year, evenings are drawn out with warmer weather and longer sunshine hours. Spring is here, and we’ve decided to do as the Milanese do and relish in a refreshing aperitivo hour.


‘Aperitivo’ is derived from the Latin verb ‘aperire’ which means ‘to open’, and signifies the drink at the start of a meal, usually paired with small savoury bites. For the Italians, aperitivo is considered the spark to ignite hunger for the evening meal. Take a trip to Milan and you’ll see the bars crowded with locals at 6pm doing just that; enjoying a drink with ice and opening up their appetites for the evening ahead.

These days across Europe, aperitivo hour is considered to be something like a happy hour – that stretch in the day when you are free to lap up the sun and sip a refreshing drink.

Wherever you choose to sip it, the beauty of the aperitivo is that you’re not confined to one or two flavours. When choosing your flavour it’s possible to pick from a variety of tastes from dry to bitter and from sweet to sour.. But are there any rules? Well an aperitivo is usually served cold, often with ice, sometimes with zingy garnish, and always with a whole heap of la dolce vita.

Here are some trends we’ve seen when it comes to aperitvo – and don’t forget the nuts, olives, cheese and delicious salami.

A New Take On The Spritz

Want a more modern take on the Aperol Spritz? Here is the new cocktail for the 2017 spring season. Cynar is an artichoke-based liquor, with ties to the same group of bitter Italian liquors as Aperol and Campari.

Made from 13 different herbs and plants, Cynar delivers a bittersweet flavour that is perfect in a Cynar Spritz (Cynar, sparkling wine, soda water, orange and lemon), or even a Cynar Gin Fizz if you’re feeling adventurous (Cynar, gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup and prosecco).

A distinctive flavour, guaranteed to provide some bite before dinner.

Cynar Spritz

60mL sparkling wine
30mL Cynar
45mL soda water
Orange and lemon wedges

Method: In a Tom Collins glass filled with ice, combine the Cynar and sparkling wine. Garnish with a slice of lemon and orange and top with soda water.

The Liquid Bouquet

Elderflower liqueur, with its fresh floral taste, can be paired with vodka to create an aperitivo that is long, subtle and refreshing. Add in some fresh lime – or cucumber for those wanting to stay away from citrus flavours – and soda water, and you’ve just made one ‘Le Grand Fizz’ to toast the evening.

Making An Old Favourite New Again

Let’s take a foray into France for an exploration of flavours. Wine-based aperitifs (the French way to say ‘aperitivo’) such as Lillet Blanc, made from a blend of white wines from Bordeaux mixed with citrus liqueurs, can be served chilled over ice with a slice of orange, lemon or lime.

But the real talking point this year? Vermouth. It’s less bitter than some of its aperitivo counterparts, and is an excellent way to start incorporating aperitivo into your life. Swap your gin and tonic for a dry vermouth and tonic to create something refreshingly new.

Vermut Negre and Tonic Ingredients:
45mL Vermut Negre
150mL tonic water
Ruby red grapefruit
Rosemary ice cubes

Method: In a highball glass filled with rosemary ice cubes add Vermut Negre and tonic water. Garnish with a wedge of ruby red grapefruit.