Apéritif & Digestif Cocktails
The appreciation of good food and drink is at an all-time high and with that the demand for apéritif and digestif cocktails is very much back in vogue. There has historically been some confusion about the difference between the two and what type of drink constitutes which one.
The term apéritif comes from the Latin word apeire, which means to open and refers to a drink which is said to enhance the appetite before a meal. Popular apéritifs include herb infused wines, diluted spirits,vermouth and cocktails such as the classic Martini, the Norina and the Kir. An apéritif should never have excess of alcohol, as this can have the effect of dulling the taste buds and the best aperitifs tend to be between 16% and 24% alcohol.
Digestifs are after meal drinks and are designed to stimulate digestion once the meal is done. They are generally stronger than apéritifs. A digestif can range widely from straight Cognac, to citrus-infused spirits like limoncello to cocktails such as the Old Fashioned, Brandy Alexander or the Amaretto Sour. A digestif will often be sweet, unlike apéritifs, as the sweetness would cloy the palate which does not stimulate hunger. Digestifs also tend to be darker coloured, as many subscribe to the theory that white spirits (gin, vodka) are most suitable in an aperitif cocktail, while brown spirits (brandy, scotch and dark rum) are best as after meal drinks.
When creating aperitif or digestif cocktails for a dinner party always try to use natural ingredients and avoid sugar and fruit juice as sweeteners, unless the recipe strictly calls for it. Good bitters and herbal liqueurs should also always be used if called for and be selective with your glassware as it can definitely enhance the experience of your cocktail both from a presentation and a taste perspective.
An Aperitif Cocktail we recommend is the Americano
25 ml Campari, 25 ml Sweet Vermouth, dash of Soda Water, Lemon Peel
How to make Americano
Begin by topping up long glass with cubed ice. Add both alcohols and top up with soda water. Stir with bar spoon to make sure ingredients are mixed properly. Garnish with a lemon zest and add 2 long straws.
A Digestif Cocktail we recommend is the Old Fashioned
50 ml Bourbon, 2 dashes Angostura Bitters, 1 dash Orange Bitters, 1 bar spoon Sugar, Orange peel
How to make Old Fashioned
Begin by chilling rocks glass with ice and soda water. Add 1 bar spoon of sugar into mixing glass. Add 2 dashes of Angostura bitters and 1 dash of orange bitters. Muddle to break down the sugar into a paste. Add the bourbon into a mixing glass and fill the rest of the mixing glass with ice. Stir with bar spoon for at least 20 seconds. Top up with ice and taste. Put ice into rocks glass and strain the drink into the glass. Zest the glass with orange peel and add twist into drink.