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It was the first World Aperitivo Day last Thursday.  So what should we be drinking ?

A Dirty Martini, Select, Noilly Prat, Dolin Vermouth, Campari, Aperol, Kir Royale and Prosecco are all well-known palate preppers.

But why not refresh your aperitif template and try something different?


Carpano Antica is a delicious liqueur on the rocks or mixed into a cocktail. It opens the palate with sweet notes of vanilla, almond, orange, raisins, and cherry. Try a shot of Lo-Fi Gentian Amaro in a beer.

Lillet Blanc and tonic goes back to 1872 when the Bordeaux aperitif was first made from grapes and orange peels was created.

But perhaps the best aperitif is the most forgotten. It’s beer.

Byrrh ( pronounced beer) is an aromatized red wine with mistelles and quinine. It was created in 1866 and a trademark since 1873, it was popular as a “hygienic drink”, Byrrh sold well in the early 20th century.Banned during Prohibition, it was only reintroduced to the United States in 2012.

Invented by two drapers, brothers Pallade and Simon Violet who flavoured wine with cinchona, it was sold in pharmacies. But with the popularity of sweet wines , it went out  of fashion.  Pernod-Ricard still make it in its birthplace, Thuir near Perpignan.


Garnet-coloured , syrupy sweet and slightly spicy Byrrh Grand Quinquina is infused with quinine,coffee,  cocoa, bitter orange peels and sweetened by muscat grape must such that it comes across a little like port.  It can be mixed with mezcal, rum and bourbon.  rums, or Canadian blended whiskey in cocktails.

Monet’s Monet mixes it with absinthe and cognac. A Claudine pairs it with Armagnac and The Italian Job is made from rum, Americano Blanco, Aperol and orange bitters.


Bonal made is meant to stave off exhaustion.  An orphan called Hyppolite Bonal, entered the Grande Chartreuse Monastery in 1850 and became “Brother Raphael”. After studying medicine and pharmacy, he became their official doctor. founded a distillery and made “restorative” wine. In 1865, he invented Bonal – an infusion of gentian, cinchona (quinine) and herbs of the Grande Chartreuse mountains. Use it with dark spirits, as a substitute for red vermouth.


Dr Adémar Juppet created St  Raphael Rouge in 1830  after he allegedly prayed for his blindness to be cured. It’s good in a Mule. La Raphaelle cocktail comprises St Raphael Amber, gentian and raspberry cream.


Best enjoyed 50/50 with Prosecco over ice and garnished with no less and no more than three olives, Giuseppe Gallo’s Italicus Rosolio Di Bergamotto spiced Italian liqueur is based on an original recipe from the 1850s.

Made near Torino by the traditional saf process, with Calabrian bergamot , Sicilian, cedro lemons, Lazio chamomile, lavender, yellow roses, Melissa balm and gentian, its roots lie in an old drink Rosolio di Torino, which goes back to Catherine de Medici.

The drink was banned by the 19th Century King and vermouth fan Vittorio Amedeo III. The bottle is based on a Roman column. Its glass inspired  by Capri’s Grotta Azzura. “L’Aperitivo de Corte” ( aperitif of the kings) – the dew of the sun –

The best thing you can do  for the first Aperitivo Dy is to discover some new fancy drinks made with new fancy mixers from new sources.

Like Sierre Leone.

Kent-based Maria Bradford was born and grew in Freetown in the land of ‘Sweet Salone’.  the daughter of a single mother primary teacher, she moved to the UK twenty years ago.

She did finance and accounting for local authorities and accounting agencies and attended the Leith School of Food and Wine, before opening “Shwen Shwen”, meaning “fancy” in her native Krio language.  Husband, Ben, is CEO of BB7, an independent security risk advisory firm.


“I have turned my lifelong passion of food into a fulfilling business now bringing the reinvention of African dishes to a broader audience. This is my calling, and I love it!”

As well as catering for dinner parties, corporate events and weddings , she has released a range of Afro-fusion mixers to spice up the annual global cocktail orgy.

“My Mango Sunshine lemonade is great for cocktails with tequila and mint. So perfect for margarita. Nomoli, traditional ginger beer, is great in brandy cocktails.   Its named after carved soapstone or limestone protecting statues. And just the thing for a Tiki.

Passionately Bissap Hibiscus & strawberry juice  is Delicious in gin or a Prosecco cocktail as is my Spiced Bissap . Ginger & hibiscus juice.  Bissap is used in Senegal’s national drink, “wonjo”.

“Purple Haze Lavender & coconut water drink goes well with white rum and vodka cocktails and makes for memorable daiquiris. Tombe sweet and sour tamarind juice is ideal for whisky cocktails.

If you are diehard sparkling wine apertifist, give these Naked Wine a go. Martial Ricard Blanquette de Limoux or Champagne Constantine Solarris.  There is also Waitrose’s Cave de Lugny Maconnais Cremant de Bourgogne.  How a different like Charles Palmer?

If you want a typically French and English livener go no further than Higher Trevibban Farm near Wadebridge in Cornwall where Tarquin Leadbetter’s South Western Distillery makes a very fine pastis, the UK’s first , using gorse from the cliffs of Constantine Bay and fennel, a close cousin of aniseed.

Somehow “ Tarquin’s Cornish pastis, please”  sounds better than Ricard, s’il vous plait”.  It tastes as good as well and great in a Rick Grimes m, a cocktail named after a character in  “The Walking Dead” TY series.

It is a sort of Cornish Zombie.


Recipe for a Rick Grimes

25ml Tarquin’s Cornish Gin
25ml Tarquin’s The Seadog Navy Strength Gin
12.5ml Cointreau
12.5ml Tarquin’s Cornish Pastis
25ml Vanilla Sugar Syrup (Homemade)
25ml Fresh Lime Juice
25ml Fresh Lemon Juice
25ml Edmond Briottet Passionfruit Liqueur
3 Dashes of Angostura Bitters