What’s your pre-dinner drink of choice?
I’ve recently discovered a drink called Lillet (LEE-lay) and I am smitten. It is a French aperitif created in 1872 and is made of a blend of Bordeaux wines and citrus liqueur. Since buying my first bottle of it, hardly an evening goes by where I don’t start my meal with a glass of this lovely drink. So just what is an aperitif? By definition, it is an alcoholic beverage served before a meal to stimulate the appetite. Lots of folks also call it by its Italian name, aperitivo. Typically, an aperitif is served alone, but it is also popular to serve with a small appetizer like potato chips or nuts. The theory is that, once finished, you are hungry for dinner…unless you eat the whole bowl of chips which I may or may not have done a few times. Personally, I just love the concept of a drink before dinner. It’s perfect after a long day to sit or prepare dinner with a cool, delicious adult beverage. They’re also great for entertaining: your guests arrive and serving a drink is a great way to break the ice and initiate conversation.
Classic aperitifs are “supposed to be” on the dry or bitter side – think Negroni’s, champagne and martinis – but rules schmules, right? They don’t have to be. Lillet, for example, is on the sweeter side.
Know what else makes a great aperitif? Wine. In fact, here a few Ponte wines that we love for pre-dinner sipping:
2012 Moscato – Our beloved sparkling wine is refreshing with apricot and nectarine flavors. It’s wonderful with salty, kettle-cooked potato chips.
Beverino – Our famous “red that’s kinda sweet,” Beverino is best as an aperitif when it’s slightly chilled. If serving with food, try pairing Beverino with figs and goat cheese.
2012 Torrontes – Our Argentinian sweetheart, Torrontes, is a medium-bodied white wine with melon and citrus flavors. It is fantastic with marcona almonds, those sinfully-good, skinless almonds glistening with oil and salt.
2010 Tempranillo – Leave it to the Spaniards to create a wine that is perfect with tapas and other small bites. Serve this with cured meats and you can’t go wrong.
Whatever your favorite, you can try a cold aperitif or aperitivo or your favorite Ponte Wine any evening in The Cellar Lounge.
How about you? What do you like to drink or serve before a meal?