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Aperitif-o-clock: the moment the world comes to a standstill

One of the best times of day is aperitif-o-clock. A moment to relax that we usually enjoy at weekends when we have more free time, and that starts before a meal. However, this ritual started a long time ago with the intention of stimulating the appetite. 

It is very possible that Hippocrates, back in the 5th century B.C., was the creator of the first aperitif, when in ancient Greece he consecrated the vinum hippocraticum, which was made through macerating wormwood flowers and dictamnus leaves in wine, and used as a drink that stimulated the appetite and fought malnutrition and some lymphatic issues.

This recipe, which originates in this wine flavoured through macerating different ingredients (botanicals, fruit skins, spices, etc.) has given rise to the king of aperitifs: vermouth. However, gastronomic traditions evolve and, over time, several drinks have been created to whet the appetite. Let’s look at the main ones.

Vermouth

The German term wermutkraut, (common wormwood) appears in 1555, therefore, many authors place the origin of vermouth somewhere in Germany. However, some credit the Italian Antonio Benedetto Carpano (1764-1815) as the true father of contemporary vermouth, who flavoured wines to make them more palatable.

Vermouth has long ceased to be a low quality wine flavoured to make it more palatable. This aperitif has been reinvented and producers go to great lengths to use the best raw material and a special recipe of botanicals that offer the consumer and any cocktails vermouths with personality and, most importantly, high quality.

Bitters

When it comes to drinks, bitterness is a highly valued characteristic. Strangely, the presence of herbs that provide bitterness, like wormwood contained in vermouth, contribute precisely to whetting the appetite, which is why they are so widely used in making aperitifs. Here are some examples of bitters:

Fernet, originally made as a digestive, is a bitter-tasting drink, originally from Italy and widely consumed in Argentina and Uruguay. It is now served as an aperitif but also as a digestive. Its alcohol content is higher than vermouth, so it is usually served with soda, mineral water or in cocktails (usually with cola).

Aperol was born in 1919, in Italy. It is less bitter and has a lower alcohol content than other aperitifs and, thanks to the famous Aperol Spritz cocktail, which is made by mixing Aperol with sparkling wine and soda, it has gained worldwide popularity. It is now one of the most fashionable drinks to enjoy at aperitif-o-clock. 

Jerez wines

In the south of Spain they know that the best companion for aperitifs is sherry wine, especially Finos and Manzanillas. These are fortified wines with an alcohol content similar to a vermouth, dry and low in acidity, they are served cold and are excellent companions to cheeses, sausages, pickles... and, because they have a subtle saline and mineral note, they are perfect for enhancing the flavours of anything that comes from the sea. Sherry wine consumption is undergoing a real revolution (The Sherry Revolution). This is undoubtedly one of the best ways to enjoy aperitif time with the pleasant feeling of sitting on a terrace, enjoying the warmth of the sun, at any time of the year.

Champagne

Champagne is synonymous with elegance and distinction, and has always been considered the perfect companion to a glamorous aperitif.

Recently, Moët Chandon surprised us by adding ice. A gesture as outrageous as it is innovative and fun. To do this, they have created Moët Chandon Ice Imperial, the first champagne to be served on ice. A revolution among purists and an attention catcher to consumers who are always looking for new experiences.

Chandon Garden Spritz, the aperitif revolution

Just when we thought we had seen it all, Moët Chandon surprises us again, this time through their Chandon house, located in the renowned wine region of Mendoza, Argentina. 

This is where they make Chandon Garden Spritz a drink created from the best Argentine sparkling wine 2020 (recognition awarded at the Champagne World Championship) containing a secret recipe liqueur made with Argentine orange peels of the “Valencia late” variety, hand-peeled, combined with herbs, flowers and spices from Argentina, Brazil, Madagascar and Central America.

Chandon Garden Spritz is a fun, fresh and explosive drink. The latest twist on the aperitif revolution. It brings together the best of two worlds: the refinement and glamour that champagne brings, and a perfect balance between bitterness and sweetness, reminiscent of our beloved vermouth. The refreshing note provided by the citrus touch of the orange and its sparkling bubbles make it an excellent choice for pairing with an aperitif and, why not, with an after-work drink.

If you haven’t tried it yet, Moët Hennessy recommends serving Chandon Garden Spritz with ice, a slice of dried orange, a sprig of rosemary and, most importantly, good company .

Although everyone has their own, what is clear is that aperitif-o-clock is a moment we all look forward to. If it also comes with sun, laughter and a weekend, even better. Which one would you choose?

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