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The Aperitivo Explained

What is the aperitivo in Italy?

It is a way people stay connected, and can be a dinner option for those who just want a light evening meal or who are on a strict budget. This fun and tasty trend began in Milano in the 80’s when some bars had the idea to serve snacks with their drinks during Happy Hour. Naturally, people would opt to enjoy their cocktails at establishments that provided free nibbles. Other bars began to follow suit, some even offering dishes like hot pasta, thus giving people the opportunity to eat their primo and then go out for dinner afterward. The Milanese trend trickled south to many cities including Florence. Just about every lounge bar, coffee bar, and enoteca in the city serves some form of aperitivo buffet with their drinks. Good music is also crucial, since it sets the mood for relaxation and animated conversation.

Beyond the world of wine lies a wide assortment of cocktails to discover in Italy, including the Negroni, the Spritz, and the Americano. Intended to whet the palate, these three cocktails usually contain Campari, but are also offered with some minor variations. These iconic Italian cocktails feature distinctive ingredients like Aperol, Campari and Vermouth and contain flavors that stimulate the appetite — thus, perfect for the Italian aperitivo. The social activity known as aperitivo takes place in a lively atmosphere, at a bar or party, accompanied by light-tasting cocktails and pre-dinner snacks. It happens almost every night of the week, and in some locales, the finger foods are enough for a full meal, from 6pm to 10pm.

The Americano is made with half Campari, half sweet Vermouth, and soda water, and is garnished with lemon [...] 

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