Serving a cocktail before an elegant meal is a lovely way to welcome guests, but it also serves a purpose. Experience the joys of apéritif cocktails with these easy to create recipes.
There’s something a little bit exotic about apéritif cocktails. Hovering somewhere between wine and spirit, the word comes from the Latin ‘aperire’ meaning to open. The bittersweet flavour of apéritifs is designed to ‘open up’ the appetite, creating a tiny rush of excitement and preparing the palate (and the stomach) for the meal to come.
The history of apéritifs can be traced back to Europe, specifically to the food-loving nations of Italy and France. They include vermouth, as well as gin, wine and bitters such as Campari and Aperol. All these can be drunk alone or used in a host of cocktails. Stock up on ice, chill the glasses, and enjoy one of these innovative apéritifs as the sun goes down.
Lillet Blanc is a blend of white wine and citrus liqueur.
15mL Lillet Blanc
60mL chilled jasmine tea
15mL lemon juice
15mL orange blossom honey
1 wedge orange
Fill a shaker with ice cubes. Add all ingredients. Shake and strain into a tall glass. Garnish with orange.
Campari is alcoholic bitters, made from an infusion of herbs and fruit.
15mL pink grapefruit juice
30mL each fresh lime and lemon juice
20mL simple syrup
180mL Italian orange soda
Pour Campari, tequila, syrup and fruit juices into a mixer. Fill with ice and shake. Add orange soda and strain over a glass with ice. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.
Probably the best-known apéritif, Antonio Carpano is credited with creating the first vermouth in Turin, Italy, in 1796.
50mL Belsazar Rosé
100mL tonic water
Pour vermouth into a tumbler with ice and top with tonic water. Stir and serve with a slice of grapefruit.
Bold, tangy, robust, McClure’s Bloody Mary Mixer includes pickle brine, pressed cucumber juice, dill, and garlic.
90mL McClure’s Bloody Mary Mixer
45mL Belvedere Polish Vodka
Fill a glass with ice cubes and salt the rim. Pour over Bloody Mary Mix and vodka. Stir well and garnish with celery leaves and olives.
Coffee is big in cocktails this year for its smoothness and subtle smokiness. Mr Black is crafted at a small distillery on the NSW Central Coast.
45mL Mr Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur
1 scoop vanilla ice cream
60mL soda water
Pour liqueur into glass, add ice cream and top with soda.
Did you know that rum originally came from Indonesia? Try this for a taste of authenticity.
50mL Nusa Cana Rum
180mL ginger beer
2 fresh lime wedges
Bruised lemongrass stick (give it a whack with the back of a knife to help the flavours come out)
Pour all ingredients over cubed ice. Stir with the lemongrass stick and leave in as a garnish. Sip though a bamboo straw.
Ketel One Botanical Cucumber & Mint is for those who appreciate crisp cucumbers and light tones of fresh garden mint.
45mL Ketel One Botanical Cucumber & Mint
90mL soda water
Pour ingredients into a wine glass or tumbler over ice. Serve with batons of cucumber, mint leaves and a sprig of your favourite herb.
The classic Aperol spritz is Italy’s answer to Pimms. It’s usually made with prosecco, but beer drinkers will enjoy this refreshing twist on the original.
Half a bottle or can of sour beer with tropical notes
Fill a tall glass with ice. Add Aperol and sour beer. Top with soda water and garnish with an orange slice.
This locally born twist on the classic Veneto Spritz is made using South Australian riesling, blood orange, bitters and sparkling water.
Pour over ice. Garnish with citrus fruits and mint leaves.
Shochu is Japan’s most popular spirit and fast gaining a following here in Australia as a substitute for vodka in cocktails.
Serve over ice with a wedge of lime.
The gin revolution is upon us! This new pre-mix showcases the bittersweet taste of Seville orange with a crisp finish of crafted tonic water.
Serve over ice with a slice of blood orange.