The Aperitivo Ritual

The Aperitivo Ritual

Nov 14, 2020Donatella Mulvoni

It is one of Italy’s most beloved traditions. It is sophisticated after-work socializing at the bar. To have an aperitivo means to relax, detox, mingle, and take it slow.



Aperitivo - similar to happy hour - is the perfect after-work tradition. It is the moment when you meet up with friends and experience delightful drinks and a light meal. Bars serving aperitivo—usually between 7pm and 9pm—offer a range of hors d’oeuvres and finger foods designed to whet the appetite and to be enjoyed with a classic drink like a Spritz, Negroni, or wine.



The ancient Romans took part in a predecessor to the aperitivo. The gustatio was served before dinner, accompanied by mulsum, a mix of wine and honey. The modern aperitivo was conceived in 1786 in Torino by the distiller Antonio Benedetto Carpano, the inventor of Vermouth. This liquor, in fact, became the classic aperitivo drink, made of Moscato white wine, herbs, and spices. Nowadays, Milano is the aperitivo capital of the world.



Aperitivo food is salty and small. If you are preparing your own aperitivo at home, you can give free rein to your creativity. An aperitvo can be made up of just about anything—choose between formaggi (cheeses), salumi (cured meats), torte rustiche (quiches), crackers, grissini, or vegetables. For a modern take, you can even prepare small panini, pizzas, and pasta dishes. While aperitivi are typically meant to just ignite your appetite, some aperitivi can actually replace dinner. Prepare bruschette with garlic, olive oil, chopped tomatoes, and basil. If you don’t have time to cook, you can choose here your favorite topping by Agromonte. You could also serve some of Bettina’s delicious salty snacks.



Aperitivo screams Campari and Aperol! These are the classic drinks for the Italian aperitivo; Campari is bitter, Aperol is sweet. Both are perfect for your Spritz (Campari or Aperol, prosecco, soda, and a slice of orange). A little tip: when in Italy, do not order Spritz for dinner! Italians reserve this drink only for aperitivo. Another classic drink is the Negroni (gin, Campari, red vermouth, and a slice of orange). If Negroni is too strong for you, you could have a Sbagliato, in which prosecco replaces the gin in a Negroni.

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