Apéritif

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An apéritif is an alcoholic drink usually enjoyed as an appetizer before a large meal. It is often served with something small to eat, like olives or crackers.

The word is French and is derived from the Latin verb "aperire", which means to open. This etymology is fitting since an apéritif opens the meal.

[edit] History

The apéritif first appeared in 1786 when Antonio Benedetto Carpano invented Vermouth in Turin, which would be sold in the next century by companies such as Martini, Cinzano, Gancia and others. Apéritifs became truly popular in the late 19th century in Europe. By 1900, having an apéritif before a meal was very common in the United States, too.

However, there is no definite origin of the apéritif, with some saying that the concept of drinking a small amount of alcohol before a meal dates back to Ancient Egyptian times.

In Spain and some countries in Latin America, aperitifs have also been a staple of Tapas-styled cuisine and dining.

[edit] Types of apéritif

There is no one particular type of alcohol that is always used for apéritifs, although liqueurs are common.

One of the most common apéritifs is sherry, but it varies from region to region. For example, in Greece, ouzo is a common apéritif, whereas in the United States, it would be rare to have ouzo as an apéritif. In the Czech Republic, a common type of apéritif is Becherovka, especially in the spa town of Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad).

In southern France, a common apéritif is Pastis which is another anise-based drink, with commonly found brands in France being Ricard, Pernod and Pastis 51. The French typically drink the aperitif diluted 1:5 with water in a tall glass. The water may be added by drizzling it into the glass through a slotted absinthe spoon on which one or more cubes of sugar are placed as part of the infusion. A notable feature of this drink is that it turns from a sombre yellow to opaque white when water is added. This is distinct from but closely related to absinthe, an alcoholic beverage containing a wider array of botanical extracts.

Also popular are "aperos" which are known as bitter drinks. These include Campari, Suze, Byrrh and Cinzano. Vermouth is also another popular apéritif.

The French also serve a digestif after meals, which is usually a strong spirit or liqueur. However, this practice is in some decline in France due to increasing enforcement of breath-testing road blocks as part of their drunk-driving laws [citation needed].

In Italy "aperitivo" is very popular, especially in the north of Italy. The offering with the pre-dinner drink can be as small as a few potato chips and olives to an elaborate buffet including hot dishes and sometimes fresh pizza. The latter is becoming an attraction in itself as many more bars aggressively compete for the "aperitivo" crowd.

[edit] See also

et:Aperitiiv fr:Apéritif he:אפריטיף nl:Aperitief no:Aperitif pl:Aperitif ru:Аперитив sk:Aperitív fi:Aperitiivi sv:Aperitif uk:Аперитив

Apéritif

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