13 Oct 2017

The aperitif … Italian style

Today, what the young people call “bee”, the Italian aperitif, is back in fashion, to be consumed in the pause between the end of office hours and dinner, contaminated, however, by the British influence of Happy Hour: food, often, not too refined, drinks and soft drinks, buffet filled with all sorts of dishes, without the slightest fondness, for example, for finger food or, anyway, for a touch of chic and characteristic that, instead, has distinguished this custom in the past. A tradition, among other things, all Made in Italy.

How the Italian aperitif is born?

This “rite” was born in Turin, around the end of the 1700s.

In that period, in fact, Antonio Benedetto Carpano invented vermouth, a liqueur wine flavored with herbs and spices, which served as background in pauses not only pre-dinner, but also pre-lunch, along with sweet and savory snacks, spreading this, which became a real cult, from under the arcades of Piazza Castello in all the cafes of the city and, then, beyond, to Milan, Genoa, Florence, Venice and our Naples, becoming the usual tradition of all Italian citizens of the bourgeoisie , even later, in the nineteenth century.

Each city also gave life to some personal revisits: in Venice, for example, were born bacari, where to consume the famous cicchetti (snacks), drink a typical spritz or a shadow (a glass of wine).

Not just wine

In fact, that of drinking cocktail was not a well-established habit until not too long ago: these drinks, in fact, before the 50s, were almost unknown in our country.

Thanks to the presence of international tourists and, above all, Americans in our hotels, however, the bartenders have had to learn to unravel between Bloody Mary, Margarita and Daiquiri, spreading the cult and taste of alcohol that has, for many, replaced that of good local wine and alcohol, up to real exaggerations and bad taste.

The chic and retro air of traditional Italian aperitifs has become contaminated, not only with English but also with American inspirations, becoming a sort of mix that only has a vague memory and a distant aftertaste.

We at Gambrinus, together with the friends of Camparino in Milan, are proud of having preserved the traditional style and proposal of the past, leaving intact our identity not only of Neapolitans but also of Italians!