During summer, there are numerous opportunities to be outdoors, including for barbecues, lunches, candlelight dinners and so much more. Among the thousands of ways to enjoy the beautiful season together, the aperitif is one of the most popular: it’s informal, allows for greater flexibility and does not require too many hours spent in the kitchen.
So how best to organise it? Here are some useful tips!
Always start with your guest list
Unless you are organising a happy hour with lifelong friends or close family members, it’s always a good idea to get the guest list down on paper, with a few notes on each one.
The lactose-intolerant, the pregnant friend, the teetotaller, the vegan, the one who doesn’t like spicy food, and so on: allergies, intolerances and food preferences are essential to get a general idea of the group and to understand what to serve, both as drinks and food.
What to serve to drink?
The answer is of course: whatever you prefer! White, red, rosé, still or sparkling wine, classic cocktails for an aperitif, stylish classics or imaginative ideas. Space for creativity!
Light bodied wines are usually the order of the day for a summertime happy hour, both in terms of body and alcohol content. Bubbles are therefore perfect, as are fresh, fragrant whites or light bodied reds.
In terms of mixed drinks, we tend to go for the most well-known: Spritz, Americano, Negroni and Hugo are always a safe choice. It’s also a good idea to prepare them directly in large decanters, so that everyone can serve themselves whenever they like.
Other ideas? So you could go for a Gin Fizz (gin, soda, lemon and sugar), a Moscow Mule (vodka, ginger beer and lime) or a Bellini (peach puree and Prosecco). Three sophisticated ideas with an alcohol content of under 12%!
Of course, non-alcoholic drinks should also be on offer for any self-respecting aperitif: water, sodas and juices always go down well.
Nibbles and snacks for all tastes
Drinks are essential, but in a self-respecting happy hour there can be no shortage of food, especially if you intend to spend several hours together (the now popular pre-dinner aperitif).
Avoid overly elaborate recipes and hot dishes, in favour of snacks that can be eaten using fingers only and aren’t messy to handle.
Are you fed up with the same old crisps? You can make meaty bites (here’s a recipe for our spicy apple meatballs), sandwiches, stuffed puff-pastry rolls or panini (like our stuffed baguettes). Or why not have an attractive board of cold meats and cheeses, with a well-stocked basket of bread and breadsticks by its side.
Finally, don’t forget the vegetarian and/or vegan options: a good host always thinks about the needs of all their guests! How about our Apulian focaccia with cherry tomatoes, olives and burrata cheese? Mouth-watering.