Aperitivo: from the Latin aperire, to open, as in open the door to friends, open conversation around the table, and open the appetite. Aperitivo is about coming together over drinks and snacks before dinner. It's a quintessentially Italian concept, and one that's worth emulating. Originating in the bars and cafes of northern cities such as Venice, Milan, and Turin, the custom has spread all over the country. Aperitivo takes the reader on a spirited ride through this cocktail culture, stopping at all the chicest and most classic bars and restaurants that have elevated this ritual to an art form. Many of the drinks are structured around vermouths and citrus- and botanical infused liqueurs, which offer a new world of complex flavours. They yield enticingly simple cocktails that refresh-without stunning the palate (thanks to a lighter alcohol content). But Aperitivo is just as much about the food because in Italy, you can't drink without eating. Recipes feature peppers stuffed with tuna, the legendary croquettes from Harry's Bar, and polenta squares with baccala, as well as endless variations of crostini and focaccia.
Whether planning a party or just having a friend over, Aperitivo brings a whole new spirit of conviviality and lets you host in true Italian style.
Marisa Huff is a James Beard-nominated writer whose work has appeared in La Cucina Italiana, Wine and Spirits, and The Art of Eating. She lives in Padua, where she is the communications director for the Alajmo restaurant group. Joe Bastianich is an American restaurateur, TV personality, and author of Restaurant Man. He is the coowner of the Batali and Bastianich Hospitality Group as well as Eataly throughout the Americas.
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