Apéritifs and Digestifs
by Mary Alice Higbie
In the grand European tradition, we are now offering for your pleasure a fine selection of alcoholic Apéritifs and Digestifs to accompany your tea. Europeans deliberately celebrate―each other, each meal, even time with another person for a drink. They take the time; they string it out as long as they can, make it a tradition. The tradition of Apéritifs and Digestifs is one that adds meaning and a sense of celebration to a meal together, and is the perfect companion to the ceremony of afternoon tea.
Apéritif is a French word that comes from the Latin verb aperire, meaning, “to open.” Usually modest in alcohol, refreshing and on the dry side, apéritifs are meant to stimulate your appetite without dampening your hunger or making you sleepy before dinner is served. An apéritif may be as simple as a glass of dry white or sparkling wine, but a true apéritif is commonly concocted from some secret herbal recipe and offers a bit more in the way of flavor, color, and glamour. They are light, astringent, and can be slightly bitter
An ideal apéritif is meant to sharpen the palate, and is sometimes tempered with a bit of sweetness. A syrupy or sweet drink will not stimulate hunger. Most apéritifs are served chilled and straight, in a stemmed glass slightly smaller than a shot glass, though without ice, as the water from ice can cloud their sparkling clear appearance.
Digestifs, on the other hand, are generally sweeter and are served after the meal, at room temperature. They were originally created as aids to digestion, and are to be sipped slowly, preferably over comfortable yet fascinating conversation, or, barring that, a book of good poetry. They pair well with dessert (imagine port and chocolate or Pedro Ximenez and crème brulée), or after the entire meal (imagine port and cigars…).
Why are we in such a hurry anyway? Here is a chance to slow your pace, enjoy your friendships, and celebrate your day.
We have non-alcoholic apéritifs and digestifs available for your pleasure, as well.