The perfect aperitivo at home
The Aperitivo is recognised by all as a moment of relaxation, pleasant vibes, social gathering and pleasant chat, in short, informal conviviality, and yet few know how it has evolved over the centuries.
Its history obviously originates in Italy, in Turin to be precise, where in 1786 in a small liquor shop, the owner Antonio Benedetto Carpano created what would then become the aperitif par excellence: Vermouth, an aromatised wine that would soon win over the then king of Italy and the entire country.
Subsequently, in Milan, towards the end of the 1990s, a visionary and legendary entrepreneur, Vinicio Valdo, had the extraordinary intuition to launch a completely innovative formula (which would then prove to be a great success) that envisaged combining food and drink in the same service. In this way he was able to prolong the chatter and laughter of his customers, but above all, he was able to prolong how long they stayed in his bar. Thus was born the “Milanese” Aperitivo, which is known all over the world.
Nowadays, new style and elegance trends suggest an even more intimate and relaxed convivial form, which enables you to receive guests flawlessly at home without too much complex organisation behind it. In fact, the perfect Aperitivo is not only made up of drinks and food, instead it is a combination of fantastic sensations and small details that, if matched and calibrated well, will enable your great success of the season.
After all, who wouldn’t want their house to be mentioned by friends as the place to go for the best Aperitivo in town?
Even at home, you do not need large spaces to organise a memorable Aperitivo. If you have the option, you can use a nice table, which is both large and practical enough to put everything on. You can place it in the living room or, if the season allows for it, in the garden or on the balcony.
But if you are looking for something really special, do your best to increase the existing space! There are many options, a simple corner would suffice.
Take advantage of a chest of drawers, one of those containers that sometimes finds itself a bit forgotten in some corner of the house, and arrange bottles and glasses on top of it in both a functional and aesthetically pleasing way. The trick is to create symmetry through balance: make sure that there are as many bottles on the right as on the left, that glasses are arranged on small trays and that points where guests can help themselves to water and lemon are set out repeatedly in a sort of pattern.
Mixing a series of tables of various heights can also be a great idea. It will give the space a sense of movement and make it very personal, allowing you to take advantage of the furniture you already have at home.
But the easiest and most sensational solution would be to set up a special corner by mounting a couple of shelves on that wall (the one that, let’s be honest, is a bit mistreated) which will then become your favourite one, just you wait and see! The trick is that guests can reach bottles and glasses easily, so that they can use what they prefer with complete ease
Separating drinks from food is generally always advisable. This will avoid overcrowding when people are helping themselves, but above all it will help to keep the bar space much cleaner.
Try to create a good selection of finger-food and appetising snacks. You should make at least 5 or 6 different types, also including vegetarian/vegan options if necessary, without forgetting of course the classic of classics that never gets old: crisps and peanuts.
Give preference to easy snacks, which can be perfectly enjoyed at room temperature, are simple to serve and which can be eaten even standing up using your hands or just a fork. Nothing will have to be cut.
If you want to be impeccable, arrange all the snacks in an orderly way, using trays, serving dishes, baskets and stands that will enable you to enliven your small scenic design.
You should make sure that the dishes you leave at your guests’ disposal, to support your delicacies, are rather small, both so as not to clutter up the space, as well as so as not to “flood” your guests’ stomachs before a possible subsequent dinner. Using the “petite” format for both crockery and culinary recipes gives everything (and everyone) that natural elegance that allows you to chat amiably while helping yourself to everything.
Do not forget forks, napkins and of course glasses that do not necessarily have to all be the same. Indeed, a variety of glasses to serve the different types of drinks will not only be appreciated, but also applauded. So, take the vintage champagne glasses and the 80s drinking glasses out of your grandmother’s cabinets because you will need them all.
As a rule, keep in mind that for each guest you should calculate that they will have at least two to three glasses of drink and four to six snacks.
What must never be missing during an Aperitivo at home? Ice of course!
You can prepare it in several points using various types of containers, however, bear in mind that condensation often forms under ice buckets, so be careful. Equip everything with special tongs, or simply with a nice large spoon so that everyone can use them with ease and voila.
Always save ten minutes to add your “final touches”, decorating your corner with seasonal fruit and flowers.
The Italian Choice
Choosing the right drink for the Aperitivo is very important. It shouldn’t be too strong or too sweet in order to gently prepare guests for their subsequent dinner.
Our bartender Silvia suggests you use the recipe for perhaps the most famous Italian Aperitivo drink in the world, the Aperol Spritz and hers is a delightful version of it.
You can also prepare it by replacing Aperol with Campari, in the same proportions.
However, you cannot forget Prosecco, the highly appreciated Italian sparkling wine which is absolutely perfect for an Aperitivo and wine, whether white, red or rosé, which are all Italian of course!
The three ultimate tricks
It is good manners not to wait for all guests to arrive before serving an Aperitivo, on the contrary, it is good to offer it as soon as the first guest arrives by opening a bottle of Prosecco or preparing for them what they desire the most.
To make the environment even more welcoming, it is good to pay particular attention to lighting. It is best to provide diffused lighting, coming from various sources, covering the light bulbs if possible. The use of floor and table lamps is therefore excellent, and so is the use of candles and lanterns to “warm” the scene a little, which will immediately seem softer and more evocative.
Never forget to choose some nice music to have playing in the background. It will be the soundtrack of your evening and will help create the perfect atmosphere for chatter and laughter by adding wonderful vibrations.