“Aperitivo at home signifies the end of the working day for me,” says Ruby Wilson, West Coast brand ambassador for MARTINI & ROSSI®. “It’s a good time to put on some music, take a moment to think about the evening to come, and reset.” For many familiar with the ritual of aperitivo, there is a distinct difference between having one at home and having one out. While gathering at a bar or café is centered around socializing, aperitivo at home is all about relaxing. . In the domestic realm, the pace is slower, more thoughtful. Attention to detail—investing in nice glassware, having a range of garnishes on hand, finding good vermouth, perhaps using a seltzer maker—comes into focus.
Here, the experts tell us how they do aperitivo at home.
Make the Time
The first step to setting up a proper aperitivo ritual is setting aside the time. Danielle Callegari, Italian historian and professor at Dartmouth, says that when she gets home from work or extracts herself from a day of Zoom, “I, without exception, make a drink of some kind and accompany it with a little snack. The workday isn’t over until [then], like a full stop between being on and being off.”
This Isn’t the Bar
The beauty of aperitivo at home is “you can do it in your pajamas,” as Daniel Kutch, East Coast brand ambassador for MARTINI & ROSSI, says. Though he’s partly joking, there is a distinct difference between starting your evening out and doing so at home. “The energy at a café or bar will always be different than at home,” he notes. Las Vegas bartender Dario Doimo agrees: “It’s looser at home,” he says. “You can be by yourself or with a significant other. [It’s] a moment when you want to stop for a second and take it all in, reflect.” At the bar, he says, it’s more about the company.
Callegari gets particular when she’s at home: “I’m actually more likely to be snotty about my aperitivo, wanting the proper glass and garnish, and a civilized but small snack.” At the bar, she’s more focused on socializing, so even if it’s white wine in a plastic cup, the trappings of the ritual can fade from the forefront.
Most everyone agrees that there are certain details key to aperitivo at home. Namely the proper cocktail ingredients: sweet vermouth, red bitter, sparkling wine and soda water. “It’s very difficult to aperitivo properly without at least one vermouth,” says Kutch. He always has MARTINI & ROSSI Riserva Speciale Rubino, as well as the Bitter Riserva. Callegari makes sure she’s got an aromatic and a dry gin on hand, while Doimo likes to keep sherry in stock.
Keep It Light
Doimo emphasizes the importance of keeping aperitivo low-ABV. “It’s more about … starting a conversation,” he says. Wilson says she likes to keep it light by pairing her daily aperitivo with “little snacks that tide me over ’til dinner.” She often opts for vermouth on ice, or her new favorite: MARTINI & ROSSI nonalcoholic vermouth with tonic.
Personalize Your Ritual
Once you’ve got the basics of aperitivo down, take it to the next level with touches that indicate your personal style. Gather glassware made especially for the moment—brightly colored glasses for spritzes, or special rocks glasses for Negronis. The details of a ritual can be subtle. For Miami bartender Daniele Dalla Pola, snacks make the ritual, whether a simple spread of nuts and olives or more composed Venetian-style cicchetti, like bacalao or fried seafood bites. “Making your own snacks at home is something I really enjoy, because the choices are endless,” he says. Then there’s Kutch, who has a vintage SodaStream that uses CO2 cartridges; whenever he begins aperitivo prep, he makes a fresh batch of carbonated water by charging his seltzer maker and shaking his drink ingredients to incorporate, which always gives him the feeling of kicking off golden hour—properly.
Low-ABV White Negroni Kit
Celebrate National Negroni Week all month long with a lower-proof version of the classic cocktail: the White Negroni.
Featuring MARTINI & ROSSI Extra Dry Vermouth, non-alcoholic aperitivo Floreale and BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® gin, and complete with grapefruit for garnish and two rocks glasses for serving. The kit serves 8-16, perfect for entertaining mindfully with Italy’s most iconic cocktail.
- From: Cocktail Courier