Punch's Aperitivo Bar
It’s not difficult to bring home the classic Italian ritual that celebrates the start of an evening with low-proof drinks, snacks and conviviality.
Instantly teleport to Italy, where drinking a spritz cocktail is more than just an evening cocktail – it’s a way of life. All you need is a few craft aperitivo liqueurs, fortified wine and, of course, a bottle of sparkling wine….
Bruto Americano Apertivo made by St. George Spirits is the American answer to Italian Campari that we’ve been waiting for. With vibrant citrus and notes of cinnamon, sandalwood and forest on the nose – one sip and we’re in some kinda Fellini dream.
Apple Mint Vermouth made by Uncouth is dry and sippable – the cool, minty finish is totally refreshing (the apple refers to the type of wild mint, by the way, so no fruit here!). Don't expect a prim and proper drink – this is vermouth gone wild!
Grand Poppy made by Greenbar Craft Distillery is a bittersweet and floral liqueur, and is our new favorite gift to bring to a dinner party. Gorgeous, unusual and totally delicious, we sip it with seltzer before dinner and as a digestif or mixed into cocktails after dinner.
And what would this all be without a bottle of bubbly? Sauvage Sparkling Blanc De Blanc made by Gruet Winery follows the traditional méthode Champenoise, which means that it undergoes a second fermentation in the bottle to produce natural carbonation. Sauvage actually ages in the bottle for two years to pick up a bit more yeasty flavor, which supports the green apple, grapefruit and lemon notes.
To put all these beautiful small-batch spirits to use, a cocktail made using Spritz: Italy’s Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail, with Recipes written by the Editor in Chief and former Deputy Editor of PUNCH (and included in this curation!) is the natural place to start.
The narrative-driven book traces the history and revival of spritz cocktails, with 50 recipes, from modern riffs to classics like the Venetian Spritz below. For the bitter liqueur, we suggest Grand Poppy, and for the prosecco, Sauvage Sparkling Blanc De Blanc.
2 ounces bitter liqueur
3 - 4 ounces sparkling wine
2 ounces soda water
Green olive, for garnish
Orange half-wheel, for garnish
1. Build all the ingredients in a rocks or wine glass, over ice.
2. Garnish with green olive, orange wheel or both!
(Reprinted with permission from Spritz: Italy’s Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail, with Recipes by Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau, copyright © 2016. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.)