Cocktail Hour: The Aperitivo Spritz (introducing Contratto Aperitif!)
Of all the drinks trends to reach our shores in recent years, the arrival of Italy's aperitivo culture is perhaps the most stylish. That's why we're excited to add Contratto Aperitif to our Spirits & Liqueurs range so you can mix yourself a delicious aperitivo spritz at home.
Want to learn more about why the aperitivo is so popular and the best ways to enjoy it? Read on…
What is an aperitivo?
If you've been on holiday in Italy recently (or even just to a pub in Shoreditch) you can't have missed the meteoric rise in popularity of the aperitif 'spritz': a simple cocktail of bitter Italian liqueur with Prosecco and/or soda water, poured over ice and garnished with a citrus slice. This distinctively-orange drink is usually sipped alongside some light nibbles before dinner.
Satisfying in its simplicity, the aperitivo actually serves a proper purpose: the word originates from the Latin verb 'aperire' which means 'to open', the idea being that the bitterness in the drink stimulates our appetite before dinner.
It might have only become wildly popular in the UK bar and restaurant scene in recent years, but the aperitivo is steeped in tradition and authenticity - Contratto, for example, has been distilling and blending its Aperitif since 1867!
Why we chose Contratto – Society Buyer Sarah Knowles
'Contratto's Aperitif first rose to fame in Italian cafés and bars in the early 20th century. Re-released afresh in 2013, it remains one of very few aperitifs that is made with only natural ingredients, and still uses the original recipe from 1935 that helped make it so popular.
It is a complex blend of 28 herbs, spices, fruits, roots and seeds, delicately macerated in high quality Italian brandy to create a complex and concentrated botanist's dream!
Some of the ingredients used include: bitter and sweet oranges, lemon and tangerine peel, rhubarb, ginger, wormwood, angelica root, hawthorn, cloves, cardamom, mint, sage, liquorice and many more. These combine to create a vibrant bittersweet aperitif perfect on the rocks or more commonly mixed in a spritz.'
How to serve: The Aperitivo 'Spritz' – The Contrattino
1 part Contratto Aperitif
2 parts Prosecco
A splash or two of soda water, if required
Ice and lemon or orange slices
Pour over ice into a large balloon wine glass and garnish with a citrus slice
Contratto also recommend serving their aperitif with rhubarb juice, or their signature serve is The Contrattino, which uses equal parts Prosecco and Contratto Aperitif instead.