If Campari is the uncompromising, complex, and bitterly bracing quaff, and Aperol the sweet and heady nectar, then Luxardo's new Aperitivo strikes an interesting balance in between.
'aperitifs' on Serious Eats
If you're a Campari junkie, or you've been flirting with Fernet, it's time for your next step. Vergano's Americano is one bottle to seek out.
Domestic vermouth is super-hot right now—there's a bevy of small producers making new vermouths using high-quality wine and a range of both traditional and experimental flavorings. But what about alternatives to classic bitter cocktail ingredients like Campari and Lillet? Enter Vermont's Eden Ice Cider, with their new bitter aperitif ciders.
Cocchi (pronounced "COKE-ey", not "COACH-ey") Americano has made itself comfortable in craft-cocktail bars across the country since its wide-scale release in mid-2010. Largely unheard of only a year ago, and still a boutique novelty in the cities where it has popped up, Cocchi has nevertheless turned the heads of scores of bartenders and thousands of curious drinkers in just a few short months, sparking stories in the several publications recently. So what's the deal?
Often made with a base of vermouth or another aperitif wine, low-octane cocktails are popping up around the country. Aromatized wines such as vermouth and quinquinas have an elaborate complexity of flavor, so a cocktail based on these wines can have a robust character without the alcoholic firepower to knock you off your barstool.
Sometimes known as the Zaza, the Dubonnet Cocktail dates to around 1914. A simple mixture of dry gin and the French aperitif wine called Dubonnet, the Dubonnet Cocktail has the oomph you look for in a cocktail along with the mild bitter edge that makes it perfect as a pre-dinner drink.
Unlike much of Europe, aperitifs have never fully caught on in America's restaurants and drinking establishments. With the debut of two new aperitif wines, and a newfound enthusiasm for aperitifs among craft bartenders and drink aficionados, the landscape of the preprandial tipple may be changing.
Limoncello is a southern Italian lemon liqueur that is made primarily in Sicily and Sardinia and traditionally served at the end of the meal as a digestivo. Limoncello works equally well before the meal as an apertivo, which is how we're presenting it this week as part of the menu for a full Italian meal.