Monday, April 13, 2009

Wine aperitifs

Vermouth is the most popular and well-known wine aperitif. It gets its name from the wormwood herb (artemisia absinthium), whose bitter aroma clearly influences the flavour of Vermouth.
The oldest production site is located south of Turin. Aromatised wines were already being produced there in the 16th century and, today, the region is the centre of Italian vermouth. Well-known brands such as Martini, Cinzano and Carpano are available in different varieties: rosso, bianco, rose or dry.

An excellent aperitif with sweet, fruity notes:
Vermouth Cassis

5 cl vermouth dry
2 cl crème de cassis
Ice cubes
Chilled soda water
Lemon juice and slices of lemon

Pour the vermouth and crème de cassis into a large tumbler. Stir and fill up with chilled soda water. Add a dash of lemon juice. Hang lemon peel decoratively around the tumbler. Cheers!

Patience required:
Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur. Make it yourself for a real treat either as an aperitif or for between courses.

Ingredients (for approx. two litres):
8 large untreated lemons
700 ml clear schnapps
200 ml alcohol (70%) (Available from a pharmacy)
900 g sugar

Wash the lemons in hot water and then dry. Peel a thin layer from the lemon peel. Only peel off the yellow rind, not the white, because the white tastes bitter.
Mix the lemon peelings with the clear schnapps and the alcohol. Cover and leave to infuse for a few days.
Bring 900 ml water to the boil with the sugar, uncover and cook for five minutes. Strain the lemon peel from the alcohol and mix the alcohol with the syrup. Fill the bottles with liqueur, close firmly and store in a cool place. Serve chilled Limoncello in champagne glasses.

Italian wine for crostini, caprese kebabs and insalata gambretti

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
A mysterious new comer with a ruby red colour.
It’s dry, velvety taste makes Montepulciano an ideal wine for light, Mediterranean cuisine. It’s especially good with pasta dishes, pizzas and breads such as crostinis. What\\\'s more, it also has an excellent price-performance ration.
Serving temperature: 12 – 15 °C

Chianti Classico
The classic Italian red wine is a wine of many contradictions. The grapes are cultivated in the Tuscan growing areas around Florence and Siena. This gives the wine its granite red colour and herby, fruity, berry-like taste. To enjoy the soft and harmonious Chianti at its best, wait until it matures a little before drinking. It should be decanted into a carafe or decanter a while before it’s used, to allow it to breath, absorb oxygen from the air and reveal its full-bodied taste. An particularly good accompaniment to pasta and cheese.
Serving temperature: 15 – 18 °C

Pinot Bianco
A fresh and fruity Italian white wine from the Venice and Trentino regions. Its dry notes make it an especially good with steamed fish and sea foods.
Best served at: 8 – 10 °C


Grappa alla Ruta is particularly zesty. Each bottle contains a stem from the rue (Ruta Graveolens), giving the grappa it\\\'s special taste.

Ramazotti on Ice (4 glasses)

16 cl Ramazotti
Ice cubes
1 lemon

Fill 4 thick-walled glasses with ice cubes, pour 4 cl of ramazotti over each and decorate with a slice of lemon.

Espresso di Vanilla

Ingredients for 4 portions
1 tbsp espresso powder (instant)
2cl vanilla liqueur
1 tbsp whipped cream

Dissolve the espresso powder in 60 millilitres of boiling water. Put the vanilla liqueur into a thick-walled glass and pour the espresso slowly over the back of a spoon. Cover with cream and serve.

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