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Favorite Aperitif while preparing dinner

For me it depends on whats for dinner....I love pouring that first drink while preparing my mise en place. But most of the time its one or two stiff cocktails.....ive been drinking lots of makers mark Manhattans on the rocks with angostura bitters at home. A little sweet, a little bitter, and savory from the bourbon...yes sir.

Two of those...then get into a bottle of wine with dinner....Im a happy man.

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  1. two cocktails *before* dinner? sounds to me like the cook gets even more marinated than the meat ;)

    these days i'm half in the bag after a few ounces of wine so i steer clear of alcohol until i get a little food in my stomach...but back in the days when i had a higher tolerance, i'd sip a glass of whatever wine i was also planning to pour with the meal.

    3 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      Hey...you know you have to be very thorough when preparing dinner...if your ingredients arent treated right then your result will be the same..and it starts with the chef!

      No but seriously I am 30 yrs old and compared to a few years ago thats barely drinking for me...but I am sure its still too much.

      1. re: FoodExpression

        it's only "too much" if it renders you incapable of preparing the meal. otherwise, bottoms up! ;)

    2. Why not two? You can't fly on one wing.
      Tanqueray and tonic my way: 1 part gin, 1 part tonic, 2 parts seltzer and lots of lime.

      1. I'm likely to drink something very light so that I can have a cocktail before dinner. I often drink a bit of an amaro, either solo or with soda and citrus (campari, seltzer, lime, for example) or a little glass of some open bottle of aromatized wine (Cocchi Americano, Carpano Antica, Punt e Mes, Sutton Cellars Brown Label, Bonal Gentiane Quina, whatever). I might even add a bit of seltzer to that to stretch it a bit.

        --
        www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

        3 Replies
        1. re: EvergreenDan

          Isn't punt e mes a bit bitter to be drinking straight?

          1. re: ChristinaMason

            Certainly no more bitter than Campari on the rocks. You have to *like* bitter, of course.

            1. re: ChristinaMason

              Punt e Mes on the rocks is divine. A squeeze of lemon if you need to cut the bitter.

          2. 4:1 Martini, dash of Fee Brothers & a twist

            1. I've been pouring myself a Hemingway daiquiri to start the evening these days, as Summer creeps up on Birmingham.

              2 oz white rum
              3/4 oz fresh lime juice
              1/2 oz fresh grapefruit juice (optional, but delicious, in my opinion)
              1/8-1/2 oz Luxardo maraschino liquor (depending on how much you like the stuff)

              Shake with ice and strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass. That's the stuff, man.

              2 Replies
              1. re: bryantuga

                I will certainly try this one soon....

                Another great one that we do contantly.....Caipiroska..

                2 oz ketelone
                juice of 1 lime
                tbsp agave syrup or sugar

                shake with ice...serve on the rocks ....float with selzer or water

                Refreshing

                1. re: bryantuga

                  I love, love LOVE Hemingway Daiquiris! But to me the grapefruit is not optional...

                2. I like to knock back a couple of vodka tonics with lots o lime before dinner and usually hold off on the scotch or bourbon until after dinner

                  1. Two massive vodka martinis and a Xanax and I'm good to go.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: beevod

                      now that is no joke.....can you even eat after that?

                      1. re: FoodExpression

                        Can't speak for the guy above me, but if I take a xanax and have a drink I can eat for a family of five. It's rather ridiculous how hungry it makes me.

                    2. This reminds me of an old rule of etiquette that states, "A genteman never has more than one cocktail before dinner." Although I realize that the art of being a gentleman is no longer held in the same regard it once was, experience has suggested that the sentiment works as an aphorism as well. (There's always wine and brandy . . . .)

                      1. When I'm just home from work and need to quickly make dinner I like to prep a drink of 50/50 sweet/dry vermouth -- Vya works quite nicely -- with a dash or two of orange bitters and a lemon twist. Straight out of the fridge, mixed in the glass. Easy, tasty, and fast.

                        Once the grill makes its reappearance (some fateful day when the weather doesn't totally suck), I'll pull out a tiki drink or two. In my opinion a nice frosty planter's punch goes especially well with the scent of meat cooking to perfection.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: davis_sq_pro

                          Oooh, finally a good way to drink up my Vya dry. Thanks. Maybe 50/50 with Punt e Mes.

                          1. re: EvergreenDan

                            IMO the best "way to drink up" Vya dry is mixed with three to four times as much good gin. Somehow I've never had to worry about the bottle going bad...

                            1. re: alanbarnes

                              I have a fondness for Boissiere in a Martini. Could be a tradition thing as this is how my parents drink/drank Martinis. I rather like Dolin too.

                              1. re: EvergreenDan

                                Both admirable choices, though hard to find in my neck of the woods. But try stirring up a Martini with Vya some time. If you want to break completely with tradition, maybe a "new" gin, too - you can carry on the California theme with Junipero...

                        2. >>> Favorite Aperitif while preparing dinner
                          For me it depends on whats for dinner... <<<
                          For me, it depends on the weather AS WELL AS what's for dinner . . for example, if I'm cooking on the BBQ in the afternoon, it's more than likely a Pale Ale; last minute stuff after guests have arrived, it's more than likely a glass of Champagne; if it's my wife and I, and it's 2:00 in the afternoon and we're working on a dinner that will be served at 8:00 . . . maybe it's a Campari & Soda, maybe it's a Lillet Blanc, or maybe it's a glass of the red wine that we're using in the marinade, pasta sauce, whatever . . . . after all, if you wouldn't drink it, why cook with it?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: zin1953

                            A very appealing reply. I bet you are good hosts.

                          2. My fav for some time is macvin from the Jura in France, available in US, sort of a Jura version of Pineau de Charantes.

                            10 Replies
                              1. re: buttertart

                                Pineau des Charentes is the most famous of mistelles -- a mixture of barely fermented (or even fresh) local grape must and local distilled spirits. In the case of Pineau des Charents, it's grape juice and Cognac. Over in Armagnac, it is called Floc.

                                In the case of Macvin, the spirit used is marc de Jura, blended into the local grapes -- it is NOT a vin jaune.

                                It's also made in the Calvados region, but with apple must and apple brandy, and is called Pommeau.

                                1. re: zin1953

                                  Thank you for the explanation, I have had Pineau des Charentes but not the others.

                                2. re: buttertart

                                  The grape used in macvin is savagnin, the same grape in Vin Jaune from Jura as well as Vin de Paille ( straw wine ) and Chateau-Chalon, which gives it's unique quality different, not better than Pineau. There is also Ratafia de Champagne that has the same type of formula. My two favs are still Macvin and Pommeau.

                                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                    Must lay hands on those. Astor Place or fancier shops?

                                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                      >>> The grape used in macvin is savagnin . . . <<<

                                      Not exactly. From http://www.jura-vins.com/en/macvin-ju... comes this tidbit:

                                      "All of the five grape varieties of the Jura, Trousseau, Chardonnay, Savagnin, Poulsard and Pinot Noir are permitted to be used in the production of the must destined for Macvin."

                                      Cheers,
                                      Jason

                                      1. re: zin1953

                                        True but of the 11 different ones in my cellar, including just brought back 5 new, three say only Sav and Chard, two say Sav only, the rest say nothing. Thus as with C-du-P, they can but many do not use all or even many of the available grapes. Finally found one that is 100% Sav from Overnoy, considered to be the top of the breed. For its cost, should be.

                                          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                            My only point is this: if you write here

                                            >>> "The grape used in macvin is savagnin" <<<

                                            many people here who read your comment will accept it as FACT, when in truth, your statement is FALSE.

                                            The Appellation Macvin Contrôlée permits five grape varieties to be used but does not -- to the best of my knowledge -- specify any minimum or maximum percentages, meaning that a Macvin may be produced from a single cultivar, from a blend of all five, or any combination in between, and the exact blend/variety need not be shown on the label.

                                            It's one thing to say, "The grape used in *** the best examples of macvin *** is savagnin." It's quite another to say, "The *** only *** grape used in macvin is savagnin."

                                            Cheers,
                                            Jason (who just wants to be accurate, rather than misleading)

                                  2. If just going to say this:
                                    If you like to drink while cooking just come out and say it. I can totally get what that's about. The term aperitif is typically used to refer a small drink served to stimulate the digestion, often something bitter or herbal, rarely highly alcoholic. To my mind the word also suggests (if only in it's formality) a drink served in social company rather than slugged in the kitchen.
                                    I'm not saying this because I think there is something wrong with having two cocktails while you are cooking, I've been know to do so myself, but be straight up about it. Using the term as you have here, while not exactly technically wrong, is a little bit like asking people what their favorite amuse-bouche is and then saying you are fond of a 20oz rib eye.
                                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ap%C3%A9...
                                    http://www.gourmet.com/winespiritsbee...
                                    The Gourmet link lists some lovely aperitif wines - if I may, let me suggest picking up a bottle of Carpano Antica to try neat before dinner, it also makes a wonderful Manhattan, and the flavors are complex enough that you can skip the Angostura. If you will indulge an entirely unsolicited comment, I'll add that I find Maker's too sweet to make a good Manhattan, and wonder if you have ever tried Rittenhouse Rye of Bulliet Bourbon, both of which I feel do far better in that drink.

                                    19 Replies
                                    1. re: andytee

                                      Andy? If you're going to cite a source, you should at least get the quotation correct . . .

                                      YOU wrote:
                                      >>> "The term aperitif is typically used to refer a small drink served to stimulate the digestion, often something bitter or herbal, rarely highly alcoholic." <<<

                                      However, the Wikipedia article you cite says something different:
                                      >>> An apéritif (also spelled aperitif) is usually served before a meal to stimulate the appetite. <<<

                                      The same Wikipedia article also goes on to say
                                      >>> This is contrasting with digestifs, which are served at the end of a meal to aid digestion. <<<

                                      Get it? Apéritif = appetite. Digestif = digestion.

                                      Other parts of the article go on to say
                                      >>> If a digestif is a bitters, it will contain bitter or carminative herbs, which are thought to aid digestion. Digestifs, which are usually taken straight (neat), generally contain more alcohol than apéritifs. Common choices are amari, bitters, brandy, grappa, herbal liqueur, limoncello, ouzo, tequila, and whisky. <<<

                                      and

                                      >>> There is no single alcoholic drink that is always used for an apéritif; fortified wines, liqueurs, and dry champagne are possibly the most common choices.

                                      Sherry, a fortified wine, is a very popular apéritif. In Greece, ouzo is a popular choice; in France, the apéritif varies from region to region, although Pastis and Picon are the most common ones. In Italy, vermouth or bitters (amari) may be served; popular brands of bitters are Campari, Cinzano, Byrrh, and Suze. In the Eastern Mediterranean, arak is served with mezze. <<<

                                      Now, if one looks at the alcoholic content of dry Sherry, it's typically between 15.5-17.0% abv. Cream Sherries can get up around 20% abv. The size of a glass is typically 2-3 ounces. Porto runs generally around 18-20% abv, with a similar serving size. Other fortified wines, like Vermouth, or proprietary wines like Lillet, Dubonnet, and the like, also run somewhere between 16-19% abv. and, again, are served in a similar quantity. Champagne generally runs 12-13% abv, with a 4-6 ounce pour (depending upon the size of your glasses and the number of people sharing the bottle).

                                      Spirits like pastis run between 40-45% abv, but it's typically a 1.5-2.0 ounce serving, cut at least 1:1 with water, and often more like 4-5:1.

                                      Now, I understand you posted your reply to the OP, but speaking strictly for myself (and as I pointed out above), I may have a beer while grilling, or a glass of Champagne while finishing in the kitchen once the company has arrived -- and I'm generally sharing the Champagne or the beer with my guests. I also admitted to, once in a while, having a Campari & Soda or a Lillet or, perhaps a glass of wine (if cooking with it) with my wife wile in the kitchen . . . I would suggest to you that EACH of these specific beverages does indeed qualify and fit the definition of an apéritif to a proverbial "T" . . . .

                                      Well, OK, maybe not the beer. ;^)

                                      Cheers,
                                      Jason

                                      1. re: zin1953

                                        You're right, I misspoke and I apologize. I wasn't so much intending to directly reference the link as to point it out as worthwhile reading, so what I wrote ( which I wrote before digging up the link) might not match perfectly. And yes, "stimulate digestion" was a poor choice of words as it blurred the line between aperitif and digestif, which is already blurry enough.
                                        Still, I think my main point stands, that while aperitif does not connote a specifically defined class of alcohol, it's not appropriate to use to describe anything you drink before eating. Champagne, Campari, and Lillet, as you mentioned above, are all great examples of drinks that could be served as an aperitif, a pint of beer (as you mentioned) or a Manhattan ( in OP's case) just don't fit the word as well. My point about alcohol content was more about per-drink amounts, i.e. impact on blood alcohol content than about alcohol by volume for the bottle. Nothing you listed will impact blood alcohol as much as (i.e. get you as drunk as) a Manhattan or a Martini.
                                        Anyhow, that's my two cents, offered mostly in the interests of clarity, in in defense of a set of cultural values in which low alcohol content drinks hold a place in a long leisurely evening of food, drink, and conversation.

                                        1. re: andytee

                                          "My point about alcohol content was more about per-drink amounts, i.e. impact on blood alcohol content than about alcohol by volume for the bottle. Nothing you listed will impact blood alcohol as much as (i.e. get you as drunk as) a Manhattan or a Martini. "

                                          The article you linked suggested ouzo or pastis as aperitifs. Those will in fact affect your BAC as much as a manhattan or martini. Aperitif has come to simply mean a pre-dinner cocktail in the modern vernacular.

                                          1. re: twyst

                                            "The article you linked suggested ouzo or pastis as aperitifs. Those will in fact affect your BAC as much as a manhattan or martini."

                                            Except that people drink typically 1-1.5 oz of pastis or ouzo or arak at a time, whereas a Manhattan or Martini is more often in the 4 oz range.

                                            "Aperitif has come to simply mean a pre-dinner cocktail in the modern vernacular."

                                            Well, yes and no - definitely cocktail is the wrong word here because it does not include the fortified or aromatized wines that define the term.

                                            1. re: andytee

                                              "Except that people drink typically 1-1.5 oz of pastis or ouzo or arak at a time, whereas a Manhattan or Martini is more often in the 4 oz range."

                                              I paid my way through college bartending at various high end lounges and restaurants. If I had poured 4 ounce martinis in any of the places I worked Id have been fired on the first day. Martinis almost universally get a 2 ounce pour of the main spirit.

                                              "Well, yes and no - definitely cocktail is the wrong word here because it does not include the fortified or aromatized wines that define the term."

                                              I have a degree in wine and spirits marketing and have also completed the french culinary Institute's wine and spirits course, and can say that nobody that I deal with in business uses the 1800's definition of cocktail anymore. It's true that in the oldest sense of the word a cocktail had to contain bitters (not simply fortified or aromatized wine, it had to be bitters), but the definition has changed a lot over the last 200 years as often happens in language.

                                              1. re: twyst

                                                >>"Martinis almost universally get a 2 ounce pour of the main spirit."<<

                                                If only that were true. Far too many places pour fishbowl-sized martinis, many of which consist of nothing **but** the main spirit.

                                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                                  More than half the volume in those giant martini glasses is melted ice from an improperly shaken drink in my experience.

                                                  1. re: twyst

                                                    Anybody who shakes a Martini should be shot. But over the years I've watched bartenders stir up a Martini or two, and three or four ounces of liquor is not all that unusual. Maybe I'm just hanging out in the wrong places...

                                                    1. re: alanbarnes

                                                      sounds like the right places to me!

                                                      1. re: alanbarnes

                                                        My beef these days, make mine 2 smaller ones, they stay colder.

                                                          1. re: alanbarnes

                                                            Or provide the Martini service with the surplus in a tiny carafe on ice.

                                                            I actually like Martinis stirred, shaken, and on the rocks, depending upon mood and occasion. To me, they each have some merit. Dry, exceptionally cold ice, however, is required. I seldom order Martinis out because if the bar is not good, it will be watery and if it is very good, I'd rather have something more unusual.

                                                            www.kindredcocktails | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

                                                  2. re: twyst

                                                    "I paid my way through college bartending at various high end lounges and restaurants. If I had poured 4 ounce martinis in any of the places I worked Id have been fired on the first day. Martinis almost universally get a 2 ounce pour of the main spirit."

                                                    It seems you have worked at the stingier of bars - not really an issue here though because we are talking about drinking at home. Even a martini made with 2oz gin and 1 oz vermouth is going to do a lot more to BAC than 1oz pastis in 4oz water, or 1.5oz ouzo served neat.

                                                    My point about the word "cocktail" was not so specifically about the inclusion of bitters - but at least I'd assume we can agree that a straight pour of Carpano Antica is an aperitif but not a cocktail?

                                                    1. re: andytee

                                                      "My point about the word "cocktail" was not so specifically about the inclusion of bitters - but at least I'd assume we can agree that a straight pour of Carpano Antica is an aperitif but not a cocktail?"

                                                      Definitely, even under the new very lax rules for classification it for sure has to be a mixed drink for most to call it a cocktail.

                                                      I also agree with you that I don't consider many of the things listed here as aperitifs, what I disagreed with was why. Perhaps I'm completely off my rocker, but to me an aperitif is almost always some type of liqueur or vermouth drank by itself or perhaps with a splash of water.

                                                      1. re: twyst

                                                        Is pastis a liqueur? Is a Fino or Manzanilla? Is Porto Branco? (I know, you said "almost".)

                                                        ;^)

                                                        1. re: zin1953

                                                          Blech I meant fortified wine, not vermouth in my post, I was stuck on Carpano Antica. And yes, pastis is a liqueur.

                                                          1. re: twyst

                                                            Ive been so hooked on Ricard lately...one before dinner makes me salivate at the mouth for dinner.

                                                            1. re: FoodExpression

                                                              Salivate at the mouth as opposed to ... never mind.

                                                              1. re: FoodExpression

                                                                If you like Ricard, try some Henri Bardouin - It's the best I've tried yet.

                                          2. I had an interesting aperitif recently - a "shakerato." Kind of a silly name for Campari shaken with an orange wedge, but a pleasant before-dinner drink nevertheless.