Home' Bars and Clubs : BAC SeptOct 2016 Contents The Europeans have been at it for years and now the trend is permeating the Antipodes thanks to
changing drinking habits (partly thanks to the impact of lockout laws in certain parts of Australia).
We investigate how you can capitalise on the growing trend in your venue.
SO, WHAT IS AN APERITIF?
Roughly translated, the term means ‘to open’ or
‘opener’ and refers to an alcoholic beverage that
is meant as an appetiser. Digestifs, on the other
hand, close out a meal, however the only real
difference between the two drinks are the stage
of the evening you’re at – the herbal bitterness
both gets your palate ready and settles
The tradition of settling in for a few sneaky,
low ABV drinks before your evening meal
historically began in Italy in the 1700s, however
the tradition has a stronghold on most of Europe.
The drinks work as a way to reset the palate,
says Kelly Viles, brand manager for Galliano.
“All day your palate is exposed to new
flavours and tastes, through the variety of foods
and beverages you consume,” she says. “By the
time you sit down for that meal once the sun is
down, your tastebuds are well, exhausted, and in
need of reinvigorating.”
Manu Conde, from Cerbaco which imports a
wide range of aperitifs, says the term is both a
beverage category, and an actual moment.
“The category gathers relatively well-known
products such as vermouths, amari or mistelles,”
he says. “The moment is about getting together,
before dinner, around a drink and (most of the
time) a bite to eat.”
He says classic drinks for aperitif time are
wines, pastis or absinthe, cider or cocktails, while
classic foods for aperitif are breads, cheeses,
charcuterie, and olives.
Max Allison, head bartender at Boilermaker
House in Melbourne, breaks it down even further.
“Similar to an amuse bouche in cooking, it’s
something that gets you ready to experience
something else – whether that is more drinks or
food,” he says. “It’s typically dry, as sweetness
messes with your palate a little bit and inhibits
your ability to taste other flavours, and low
alcohol because no one wants to get super
wasted before the main course arrives.”
WHY SO POPULAR NOW?
“Surrounding us everywhere is edification
of food,” says Viles. “Think MasterChef, food
exhibitions and consumer events. People are
becoming more educated about food, drinking
more premium products, and being particular
about what they consume. A lot of venues are
implementing this style of dining, and therefore
drinks to accompany the meals respectively.”
Allison likewise believes the trend is food and
produce driven, rather than being about people
deliberately wanting to drink ‘aperitifs’.
“A lot of people don’t just order a negroni,
they order a Four Pillars negroni or they’ll ask,
‘What vermouth do you use?’ or, ‘What gin do
you use?’,” he says. “They want a drink tailored
specifically for their experience. Consumers are
more savvy these days. There is a huge range of
options out there and especially with things like
the craft beer movement and the craft distilling
movement, people like locally sourced products,
and people like to know more about what they’re
drinking. They just care more.”
And as Conde points out: “It’s not much of
a new concept. What’s the difference between
after work drinks and aperitif? Not much.”
IT’S THE VIBE OF THE THING
“Aperitif is about the moment: more than just
a drink, it’s about the feel-good vibe you can
offer,” says Conde.
And that’s what you should be selling your
customers, rather than just: here are some drinks.
“I heard of a Pizza and Pastis hour for
example. A Cognac flight (young, fresh, lively
ones) with chocolate will also work. Wine and
cheese is a classic, while French cider and cheese
(try blue cheese) is a bit more outgoing,” he says.
As Viles points out, some customers are
extreme creatures of habit.
“They walk into a venue, typically won’t look
at a cocktail list, request from the bartender
the same drink or one of, from their known
repertoire,” she says. “Whereas on the flip side,
other consumers, love to be entertained by
bartenders and their recommendations. Crafting
your cocktail list around the occasion and
segmenting them into Aperitifs and Digestives is
an easy way to introduce the consumer.”
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