If you’re not making appetizers for your next dinner party, you’re doing it wrong

Image source: Daniel Harding

Image source: Daniel Harding

Image source: Daniel Harding

I’m here to tell you that appetizers are the best kind of drink. Forget about happy hours and sunsets, a light drink whose sole purpose is to whet your appetite before a meal is definitely best?

Maybe it’s because I’m close to 30 that jelly shots and big punches with a big boost take a back seat to the bitter, rich zinger and cold, dry, brittle cups? As I age into brightly colored, luscious cocktails that no longer excite me like a carefully curated cocktail list of pre-dinner ripples, my palate craves for something a little more bitter, complex, and drier.

But it’s not just about the taste, the whole concept and culture of drinking tapas appeal to me; Friends gather under the low sun, an ice spritz freezing on their glasses, or a pre-dinner martini before date night at the low-lit city bar at dusk. Romantic aside, the appetizer is wonderfully refreshing, with flavor profiles leaning more toward the herbaceous, dry, and refreshing finish of a nice cocktail.

What is appetizer?

The official definition of an appetizer is a drink that is usually served before a meal to stimulate the appetite, and is usually dry rather than sweet. You can enjoy it on your own, or along with pre-dinner snacks like nuts, olives, or other small bush-style bites.

What kind of alcohol is the appetizer?

As mentioned earlier, there is not a single type of alcohol that is classified as an appetizer, rather it is a dry style rather than a sweet one. For example, sparkling dry wines such as champagne and crimant are appetizers, as well as bitter alcoholic drinks such as Aperol and Campari, and spirits such as vodka and gin.

Different styles of appetizers:

Now that we know aperitif = bitter + alcohol + refreshing, a lot of drinks come to mind, right?

A classic and simple start, the humble gin and tonic is a great example – perfectly combining bitter spirit, bubbles and zest for a refreshing drink. In Portugal, you can replace the gin with a white port, for a classic Porto Tonico port.

Then there is vermouth, an amazingly diverse and complex aromatic wine that is enjoyed in France, Italy, and Spain. While you can replace the white port, or gin, with wine with your tonic, you can also enjoy it with a bit of soda or prosecco.

My most memorable drinking experience, which will stay with me for a long time, was in a bistro in San Sebastian in Spain which was served with gin, plenty of ice and lemon oil for intense flavor and aroma.

Then there’s the Spritz, a traditional wine-based cocktail served with Aperol or Campari. The most famous of these is the Aperol Spritz, an orange beauty that has become one of the UK’s most popular drinks.

In fact, Aperol and Campari, two bitter Italian drinks, are probably the most popular appetizers, making way for a whole host of pre-dinner palate cleansers.

Aperol is the less alcoholic and lighter version of the two, most popular in its spritz form but can also be enjoyed mixed with soda, or as a base for other great cocktails (we’ve got a whole load of Aperol cocktails for inspiration!).

On the other hand, Campari lends itself better to strong drinks, such as the most famous – Negroni, which combines Campari, vermouth and gin. You also have Negroni Sbagliato (Nigella Lawson’s favorite drink) which replaces gin with Prosecco, an Americano which replaces gin with soda water, and Boulevardier which replaces gin with rye whiskey or bourbon. keeping up? If that’s too much, Campari and soda are delicious.

We can’t talk about appetizers without mentioning the martini, of course. Two ingredients, shaken or stirred for a delicious, appetite-stimulating drink, with a little olive oil solution to make it slick if you like. You can choose vodka or gin, or both, but that’s called Vesper. Replace the vermouth with sweetened lemon juice, and you’ve got gin. Phew.

Have I made my point yet about appetizers being totally versatile and delicious?

If you’re now desperate to make up a few things for your next dinner party, check out below how to make the perfect pre-dinner drinks.

Best Aperitif Recipes

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