It’s no secret that we like our drinks. So in honor of Coral Gables Restaurant Week we teamed up with our favorite wine bar Uvaggio to host The Lost Art of the Aperitif in order to learn a bit more about these boozy beverages.
A little refresher on what an aperitif is — it’s a drink meant to awaken your palate and get you hungry. During this class we got to try six of them while guided by “head wine-O” Heath Porter, who noted that aperitifs don’t get the love they deserve in this day and age.
“Aperitifs are so forgotten in the 2015 landscape,” Porter told the crowd.
First up was the Aperol from Verona, Italy, which Porter lovingly referred to as the “red headed step child of Campari.” First we sniffed and sipped it in its pure form, then we threw in some prosecco, orange peel and soda water and voila! An Aperol spritz was born. Paired with something salty, it’ll get your tastebuds going in no time.
Next was a popular French aperitif, Lillet Blanc, which is made with a dry white wine base and mascertated fruits. He encouraged the tables to add an ice cube and lemon peel for some acidity to the drink.
“Everybody’s friend is acid,” quipped Porter.
The following aperitif is probably the best known kind — Vermouth, which Porter noted was taken so seriously in France that it has its own certifications. He also told the group that it’s made with wormwood, the same stuff that absinthe gets bathed in and the reason it was outlawed in the states for its hallucinogenic-like qualities.
After that we got to taste a vermouth concoction made by Porter himself, the Beet Vermouth hailing from “Cray Crayville.” The vermouth is aged for six weeks with dehydrated and roasted beets and the end result is a slightly sweet, bright red drink that has become a popular menu item at Uvaggio.
Next up was Pimm’s liqueur, which was another aperitif that was incredibly strong by itself but once the cucumber, lemon, mint and ginger ale were added in, it became the classic “Pimm’s Cup” cocktail and turned many people into fans.
For the last drink of the evening, it was actually digestif, which you traditionally drink after your meal because “it clears you out,” according to Porter. The one we sipped on was a classic Fernet from Italy and guests were encouraged to throw fig in their drink in order to bring out its natural fig flavor.
To finish the evening, a raffle took place and lucky guests won a gift certificate to dine in Coral Gables and a copy of the theme-perfect “Vermouth: The Revival of the Spirit that Created America’s Cocktail Culture” by Adam Ford.
Miss out of this class? Not to worry, Uvaggio hosts all different types of wine tastings every Saturday at 5 p.m. Check out the upcoming schedule Uvaggio Events and in the meantime take a look at the pictures below.