Beginnings and Endings – Aperitifs and Digestifs
In the realm hospitality, first impressions are key. An aperitif is the first impression, for beverage- dining- and hosting. It’s the moment of pause when guests gather to introduce themselves and a moment for one to transition into an experience.
In beverage terms, an aperitif is light, refreshing and low alcohol. The word comes from the Latin aperire, “to open”. That is to open your dining experience as well as your palatte. It is not meant to overwhelm your senses. Therefore, simplicity is valuable. A glass of dry white wine or Champagne, as well as a cocktail (typically half the alcohol content of a classic cocktail) are key. The goal is not to stimulate the desire to eat, but to refresh the senses.
Classic Aperitifs– Lillet, Dubonnet, Campari, Cynar and Vermouth (Dolin and Carpano Antica are my favorites)
For some classic recipes see here:
As one finishes their aperitif, the next moments move on to beginning their dining experience. The ebb and flow of conversations rise and fall with dishes and beverages in lieu. As the dining experience concludes, we have the opportunity to enjoy digetifs– the end of the experience.
Since one is full of meal and beverage, the digestif are small treats. Typically high in alcohol, served neat (no ice) and in small quantities (2-3 ounces). This is the perfect opportunity for:
- Aged Spirits (Scotch, Rum, Anejo, Cognac, Armagnac)
- Bitter/herbal liqueurs (Chartreuse, Benedictine, B&B, Fernet Branca
- Cocktails (Sazerac, Old Fashioned)
- Fortified wines (Ports, Madeira, Sherry)
- Sweet dessert liqueurs (Sambucca, Amaretto)
And how does one decide on the last treat of one’s meal?
- Light meal- creamy, rich, sweet or fruity
- Large meal- higher alcohol content, clear your throat and your thoughts
- Of the same origin as cuisine.
- Coffee and tea with beverage, such as a Correcto– grappa and espresso
- Or, ask your Sommelier or Floor Manager for their favorite treat!
More reading and references: