Classic Apéritifs

Mixologist and restaurateur Joe Campanale demonstrates how to prepare refreshing pre-dinner cocktails “to inspire thirst and hunger.” Among his favorites are Lillet on the rocks with an orange twist, the Aperol Spritz, Cynar and soda with a splash of lemon juice, and the classic Campari Shakerato.

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Joe Campanale. You're watching Today, we're going to talk about aperitifs, or in Italian, "aperitivi." An aperitif is something that you have before the meal. It's a cocktail that's meant to really inspire thirst, and inspire hunger. It's a lighter and refreshing cocktail, and it's really the way that I love to start out any meal. The first aperitif I want to talk about is Lillet. Lillet is a typical French aperitif, made just from the South of Bordeaux. It's based on wine, so once you open up the bottle, you definitely want to put it in the refrigerator. The other great thing about aperitifs is that they're super simple. All you need is the bottle, maybe some ice, and if you like sparkling water or a sparkling wine, you can add that too. I really like Lillet just in the wine glass, and on the rocks. And then, you garnish with just a quick orange twist, and drop it in. And, that makes a great, refreshing before dinner cocktail. The next aperitif I want to talk about is Aperol. If you've ever had Campari before, it's very, very bitter, and we'll talk about that later. But, Aperol is like Campari's sweet little sister. It has great flavors of citrus, especially grapefruit and tangerine. In Northern Italy, they like to do a cocktail called an Aperol Spritz. So, you fill a big wine glass with ice, your Aperol. The great thing about these too, is that they're super inexpensive. This is probably 14 dollars retail, and they last forever. And then, you do just a little bit of sparkling wine, and a touch of soda water. And, garnish this with a bit of orange. The orange really brings out more of the orange flavors in the Aperol. One of my absolute favorite aperitivi is called Cynar. Cynar is based on the artichoke root, which is known as "cynarinas," and you see this beautiful picture of it on the label. The other thing I love about all of these aperitivi is that they're super low in alcohol. This one only has about 16 percent, which means it's going to be refreshing, and it's not going to weigh your palette down before your meal. So, just fill up with Cynar. And then, add just a little bit of soda water. And, I like to put just a bit of lemon juice, which really balances out the sweetness of the Cynar. And, garnish with a lemon wedge. And, that's the Cynar cocktail. Now, for the quintessential aperitif, you have Campari. Campari's the main component in the Negroni cocktail that you see all over Italy during the aperitivo hour, which happens right before dinner. Today, we're going to do something a little bit different. It's called a Campari Shakerato. So, what you do is, you take a mixing glass, fill it with as much Campari as you're going to want to drink, because it's the only ingredient in this cocktail. And, you use a Boston shaker. So, you take the metal cup, and make sure you hit that really hard, so it's a nice, tight seal. Now, we're going to shake this for a little bit harder, and a little bit longer than you might think is necessary. But, that gives it a really great frothy, creamy texture to the Campari. Alright. And, to remove the glass from your Boston shaker, you just take the heel of your hand, and it just breaks the seal. You strain into a neat glass. And, you see the Campari's already changed in color. It's become lighter, and it's super frothy. And, that's called a Campari Shakerato. I definitely encourage everyone at home to try to make aperitivi cocktails. They're super easy, you build them all in their own glass, and they're really inexpensive. Thank you so much for watching. I'm Joe Campanale. Have an aperitif with me at Dell'Anima, L'Artusi, or Anfora here in New York City.

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