Showing posts from March, 2019

Tradition - a Mothers' Day post

Mrs Aperitif with her pride & joy Jean-Anthèlme Brillat-Savarin wrote that to receive someone into your home is to assume responsibility for their well-being and happiness until they leave. I was in my 40s before I read that, but it was something I’d known since I was a child, and when I did read it, I recognised immediately an approach to hospitality that I’d inherited from my Mum. I felt like I'd discovered something that had always been there, written into my DNA. Food has always been an important element of my Mum’s mothering. When we were at home, she took great pleasure in providing for our needs. Food was always prepared from fresh meat, vegetables and fruit. It wasn’t particularly lavish, but she’s a good cook and made us food that was tasty, filling and healthy. She’s never been afraid to try new things, and I have realised in adulthood that we were introduced to curry, pizza, chilli and lasagne a good five years earlier than most families of similar so

Springtime cocktails

My Beloved lifts up his voice, he says to me: ‘Come, my love, my lovely one, come. For see, winter is past, the rains are over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth. The season of glad songs is come; the cooing of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree is forming its first figs, and the blossoming vines give out their fragrance.’ (Song of Solomon) In an early post about approaching the aperitif from a drinks host’s perspective ( ), I wrote about how my aperitif drinks tend to follow a seasonal cycle: Gin, spritz and longdrinks in the summer, fortifieds in the late autumn, Champagne to lift the blues of winter. Now we’re through the ‘hunger gap’ of late winter and the days are noticeably longer, it’s time to break out the cocktails. Not the serious ones: Manhattans and Old Fashioneds can wait for another day. Spring is the time for fun and frivolity, for the glad songs, as the above q

Vermut - a Catalan obsession

Last year, the Beloved and I were going on holiday to Sitges and Barcelona in north-east Spain. I messaged our neighbour, who's from Valencia: “What aperitif should I drink in Catalunya?” I was stunned how quickly the reply came back: “Vermouth.” Just one word. No hesitation, no explanation, just “vermouth.”  Let’s be honest, vermouth isn’t something you associate with Spain if you don’t drink there a lot. I’d expected to be advised to drink Cava, sherry or an interesting cocktail made from some local spirit or liqueur, so her answer stunned me. Being an obedient sort, I headed out to a suitable-looking bar on the first evening and rather nervously asked for “vermut” (pronounced “bear-mutt”). The waiter handed me a bar menu, detailing at least a dozen local vermouths, including a special offer for 4 plates of snacks with every 2 glasses ordered of their house aperitif. Their vermouths ranged from light and cheap to very expensive, and each was described in terms o