The Italian Aperitivo is an alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink that is usually drunk before the dinner where the customer only pay for the drink, the food is an accompaniment. This is because the food is not considered a meal but like the drink something to arouse the appetite.
The etymology of the word is Latin; “aperitivus” that was the drink served to stimulate the appetite. The birth of the Italian Aperitivo dates back to 1786, when Antonio Benedetto Carpano began to produce, in a store under the arcades surrounding Piazza Castello (Turin), the vermouth,( nowadays the most famous italian one is Martini).
Vermouth is an flavoured wine obtained from the fermentation of herbs and spices with red or white wine.
Since then the custom of the Aperitivo has spread and reached all parts of Italy. Already in the last years of the ‘800 you could find many cafes that offered the Aperitivo in cities like Turin, Genoa, Florence, Venice, Rome, Naples and Milan. And they were frequented above all by many intellectuals, artists and politicians.
The Italian Aperitivo has become a popular custom since the ’80s. during this period in Milan, (what is usually called “happy hour”) was developed, and it is expected that the drink of the Aperitivo be accompanied by appetizers, pasta, cheese, pizza, sushi and other tasty products.
Nowadays the Italian Aperitivo more than being a break for a snack with friends after work before the dinner, has replace the dinner.
The time of the Italian Aperitivo, depending on the city, mostly begins around 6 pm until 21 pm.
Most bars and pubs compete with each other to be considered as the best Italian Aperitivo bar in terms of price, quality and quantity of food and quality of drinks.
Among the most popular drinks of the Italian Aperitivo, other than drinking the classic glasses of white or red wine or Prosecco, and Spritz stand out the “Americano”a cocktail that made by mixing Campari and red vermouth or Martini Red, in a highball glass, top with soda water and garnish with an orange twist; but If you are looking for something stronger, you have to try the Negroni.
Negroni is made by mixing together and in equal parts gin, vermouth, and Campari over ice in a rocks glass and garnish with an orange twist.
But there are also more complex cocktails such as caipiriña, caipiroska, mojito and the unfailing cosmopolitan.