Home' Bars and Clubs : BAC SeptOct 2015 Contents MENU TIP: FOOD MATCH
The category is a great value add for venues with bar
snack menus or even more extensive food offerings.
“If a venue offers food, aperitifs can be sold to
match small, early evening or late night dishes, or to
guests that are grazing on smaller dishes throughout
the evening – the cleaner flavours naturally match
light dining, and will complement rather than
overwhelm delicate dishes,” says Leonard.
Head to our website (www.professional.topshelfshow.com.au/category/features) to hear more about aperitifs from
Australian bartender, and New York bar owner, Naren Young. He venue, Dante, is famous for its aperitifs – especially its
Negroni menu – and he presented on the topic at this year’s Top Shelf.
tinctures, teas, oils, mists,
smokes, and broths are
all being used to add a
satisfying layer of complexity
to cocktails with only a few
ingredients without having
to significantly bump up the
price or alcohol content.
“These are often
homemade to allow more
control over the flavours in
house cocktails and create
a point of difference with
Key to upselling on aperitifs
is the menu presentation,
and Gakuru says that
while he has seen many
methods around the world
his personal favourite
labels drinks as “Before.
“It takes away the need
to know whether you like
vodka, rum, gin, tequila
etc.,” he says. “This style
of layout plays well to a
patron’s occasion, rather
than needing to know what
should be drunk when.”
Leonard concurs that
people have moved beyond
searching for drinks via a
“Help them choose drinks
based on broader flavour
profiles, or occasion, or the
time of day,” he says. “It
makes sense to present your
menu in order of when drinks
are meant to be consumed –
aperitifs, digestifs, revivers,
Pirc reinforces that it
is important to arm the
customer with information
that will assist them in
making the right choice.
“Include a brief
description of the flavour
profile – bitter, bitter/sweet,
herbal, etc – as it will almost
certainly create a level of
trust with the venue from the
customer’s viewpoint,” he
TOP TIP: VALUE ADD
Building on the idea that Australians prefer a “less is
more” approach, Gakuru believes that awareness has
definitely grown, and not just among customers.
“It’s pretty common to find a Negroni on most
decent cocktail menus, and bartenders are also
choosing lighter, drier cocktails as their own preference
when they go out,” he says.
According to Andy Harris, aperitifs also provide the
ideal bridge for customers starting their night out.
“You just need to have your staff recommend and
suggest options,” he says. “I think for an educated
punter they are a perfect segue into a fine cocktail or
And if you have someone not as familiar with the
concept, educating them on the ritual of the palate
cleanser/aperitif will show them that they have options
outside of beer or wine before they move onto a
That said, Leonard believes that awareness is
definitely on the rise.
“As restaurants are open later and sittings are
pushed back to accommodate more diners, a higher
proportion of trade is now occurring before dinner, so
the aperitif is becoming a more distinctive feature of
any night out,” he says.
A lower price point is also a great selling feature.
“If the aperitif cocktails available are a few dollars
less than the booze-heavy options, they will pretty
much sell themselves - a small drop in price helps a lot
in pushing cocktails, especially as guests are used to
seeing cocktail prices increase with an increase in the
quality – and cost – of base spirits being used.
Pirc believes that awareness of traditional drinks like
a spritz or a Negroni is an excellent starting point to
encourage customers from.
“Customers are generally more aware of the more
popular drinks so, alongside these, offering a diverse
range of more obscure options may be enough to
entice the customer towards flavours with which they
may be less familiar.”
While European inventions always spring to mind
when aperitifs are discussed, there is plenty of local
innovation around the category as well. Local spirit
brands are getting into the act, designing specific pre-
dinner cocktails around their portfolios – a blessing
for the more unique spirits that are starting to appear.
One such example is the Inkwell Martini, the invention
of the team behind the rather unique Ink Gin that
launched at Top Shelf back in August. The gin was
crafted for martinis – the citrus notes and pepper
berry are emphasised – and the bold blue colour, care
of natural botanicals – is certainly a talking point.
THE INKWELL MARTINI
• 60ml Ink Gin
• 10ml dry vermouth
• Finger lime, to garnish
Method: Fill cocktail glass with ice and set aside. Fill
mixing glass with ice, add vermouth, stir and strain.
Pour Ink Gin over vermouth-laced ice in mixing glass
and stir until chilled. Discard ice from cocktail glass.
Strain martini into chilled cocktail glass, garnish
Garnish: Finger lime caviar and finger lime slices.
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