How To Organize An Aperitif: Ideas And Recipes
The aperitif is a very popular activity in France, but it is important to know that the aperitif is not the same as happy hour, dinner or barbecue. But what is it exactly?
Hymn to the joy of living
Aperol is the time of day when the French take a pause from their daily activities and gather around a drink and some small dishes.
It is at this time of day that the shadows lengthen as the sun sets.
It's after work, before dinner, before a party. It's always in good company.
No one sits alone in a pub for happy hour sipping a beer.
It's the company that makes it a tradition: the day ends and there's nothing else to do but eat and drink with friends.
Here's how to make your aperitifs
You can make them as simple or as formal as you like.
Cocktails are just as much fun with one or two friends at the kitchen table as they are with a large group of friends in your backyard with delicious food and plenty of drinks.
Organize it at the location of your choice
To bring your wine, cheese and friends, use a garden, a rooftop, a room with many windows and natural light.
It is even possible to go to the beach or a park, but in this case we advise you to check the municipal by-laws limiting the consumption of alcohol on the public highway of your town (but obvious drunkenness is forbidden in all public places).
No decoration is an excellent decoration
Streamers, candles and placemats are not necessary. Cocktails are informal gatherings.
Just make sure you have enough glasses, napkins, toothpicks, serving boards or large plates, small plates for eating and chairs.
If you really want to brighten up your home, buy a bouquet of fresh flowers and divide them among several small containers to bring in subtle pops of color.
Light alcoholic beverages
Every good aperitif includes an alcoholic drink.
Wine is usually a fantastic choice, but beer is also a good choice. A pastis (aniseed drink) is also a must.
Cocktails are a casual event, so no one needs to be stuck in the kitchen or behind the bar.
A pitcher of water and lemonade are also recommended.
Chablis, Graves or Touraine are examples of dry, light white wines.
To 'wake up the taste buds', a sweeter white like Muscat can be given earlier.
Take a light red like a Burgundy if you really want a red.
Rosé is also nice, especially in summer.
Serve your white and rosé wines chilled (as they should be).
No preparation is required
Your food should not require any special cooking or attention.
You should buy items that can be combined and matched.
Some things can be prepared ahead of time, such as small quiches or puff pastries.
Tomme de Savoie, Beaufort, Comté, goat, mozzarella, Fourme d'Ambert, Camembert are some of the popular cheeses (choose soft, semi-soft, semi-hard and hard cheese, sheep, cow and goat).
Dry sausage, raw ham and other cold cuts.
Tapenade, rillettes, terrine, fig jam, ordinary or homemade tomato pesto, tzatziki, hummus.
Cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks, radishes, cucumber, melon, grapes, pickles are examples of fruits and vegetables.
Nuts and olives are also popular salty snacks.
Baguette, sliced country bread, olive bread, bruschetta, chips.
As for what to do with all this, some should be served on trays, while others should be served in bowls, baskets or combined.
Take a piece of bread and top it with tomato pesto and black olives. Fourme d'Ambert cheese and radishes on a slice of country bread.
On the bruschetta, spread goat cheese and diced tomatoes.
Don't worry about making lots of sandwiches and toasts, this is not a snack.
You prepare a few to inspire your visitors, not to feed them. (Serve wine, cheese and bread for the most basic appetizer.)
Before the hour is not the hour, after the hour ....
The aperitif is usually served between 6 and 9 pm.
There is no time limit for an aperitif. It can last one hour or three hours.
Be prepared for the cocktail party to last a long time if you host it, you never know when it might end.
Invite people you like
There is one friend, five friends and fifteen friends.
You can invite as many people as you like, as long as the space is large enough for guests to walk around freely, interact and sit down if they need to.
The place should still feel intimate (a cocktail party is not a house party).
A Facebook post or group text message is sufficient in lieu of a formal invitation.
It's usually a good idea to bring something to an appetizer if you've been invited.
If the host asks for food, shop at a local bakery, butcher shop or grocery store.
Enjoy your aperitif!
Show guests where the food and drinks are when they arrive, then relax.
The only thing you'll need to do is open the door for guests, direct them to the food and wine, check you're not running out of glasses and enjoy your happy hour.