Thirsty Thursday – A is for Aperitif



For SAS‘s first Thirsty Thursday I wanted to stick with the letter of the month, A, and focus on a little known, often misunderstood realm of the alcohol world, the Apéritif. defines an apéritif as:

noun, plural apéritifs


[ah-per-i-teefs; Frencha-pey-ree-teef] (Show IPA)


a small drink of alcoholic liquor taken to stimulate the appetite before a meal.
Also called apéritif wine. a wine served as an appetizer or cocktail.

The drink is meant to stimulate your appetite not kill it with booze or get you so drunk that you can’t experience the meal. Like the difference between a true appetizer and the American small-plate, one is meant to precede the meal and one is meant to be a part of the meal. In this way an apéritif should be simplistic in its construction and presentation. While it’s taste can be complex to awaken the palate, an apéritif should be clean not cloying and light not rich.

Apéritifs are not defined by only liquor or only one type of liquor and include some wines. They are, however, designated by  general guidelines that include having a lower alcohol content than some hard liquors and erring on the side of dry rather than sweet. Common choices for an apéritif include vermouth, brut champagnes, bitters & soda, anise flavored liquors, dry sherry, and varieties of dry white wine.

I found a very informative and interesting post from thekitchn entitled All About Aperitifs (shout out to the letter of the month & alliteration *whoop-whoop*). The article breaks down various popular apéritifs and lists other options for pre-dinner drinks, including a personal favorite of mine, Pimm’s! The liquor, Pimms No. 1 Cup, is the  main ingredient of an English and New Orleans classic, the Pimm’s Cup, a crisp and refreshing drink that tastes (in certain variations) like an iced tea that knows a sexy secret.

Celebrate the waning Summer by making one today!

Pimm’s Cuppimms-cup

makes one drink

1 1/2 ounces Pimm’s No. 1 Cup
lemonade (or ginger ale or lemon-lime soda)
lemon slices
cucumber slices
(optional: orange slice, fresh borage and/or mint leaves, apple slices, strawberry)

Half-fill a Collins glass with ice and a few slices of cucumber, borage leaves, or other garnishes. Add measure of Pimm’s, then top up glass with lemonade or soda. Stir gently and add additional ice if necessary. Garnish with slices of lemon and cucumber. (recipe thekitchn)

Or visit two New Orleans establishments known for their Pimm’s Cups: Down a Pimm’s in the presence of portraits  of the late french monarch, dust from as far back as 1797, and perhaps a ghost or two at Napoleon House . Leisurely sip a Pimm’s Cup shaded from the afternoon sun on the porch of The Columns Hotel surrounded by hundred year old oak trees, crunching on the fat cumber garnish while streetcars roll by.

So whether you venture out to eat in New Orleans during COOLinary month or make a special meal at home, this August,

Appreciate An Apéritif! 



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