A long day is drawing to a close. The moment has come to wipe away the stress with a tasty aperitif. Why not try something different? The region’s most fashionable aperitif cocktails!
Like many things, in Ticino the tradition of the aperitif comes from its Mediterranean ancestry. This tradition was first established in Italy, when Antonio Benedetto Carpano invented Vermouth in Turin in 1786, destined to become the quintessential aperitif drink.
In the years to come, other drinks rode the wave of success of aperitif liqueurs, resulting in the birth of bitters like Martini and Campari. At the time, the aperitif was simply a drink to be consumed before lunch or dinner to stimulate the appetite (the snacks were small: olives, savoury bites and the like) in cafés, where politicians, artists and intellectuals loved to sip as they discussed their ideas. Only towards the end of the 20th century did it take on the connotations of the American “happy hour”.
In Ticino the aperitif is first and foremost about socialising, a reason to get together and destress while chatting after a long day at work.
From gossiping to putting the world to rights can be a short step, but the important thing is to enjoy the company, the drink and to let yourself relax at the end of the day. In our part of the world, the traditional aperitif has yet to give up too much ground to trendy cocktails and typical local products are still favoured. White wine, perhaps even a Merlot Bianco from one of our region’s excellent vineyards, is always a timeless classic. An aperitif by the lake is the perfect way to switch off, surrounded by water and palm trees that make you feel as if you’re in the tropics. This is why every time is aperitif time in Ticino!
A miniguide to aperitifs in Ascona-Locarno:
In Ascona-Locarno the range of possibilities is vast but it still leaves room for imagination. Here are our top five aperitifs, recommended for when you want to relax while sipping something classic on a sunny afternoon by the lake:
Merlot Bianco: As far as we’re concerned, white wine, and in particular our white Merlot, typical of Ticino, is the most classic aperitif of them all. Accompanied by a typical Ticinese dish and some delicious bread from the Vallemaggia, this is our region’s most traditional aperitif.
Craft beers: Like the wine, the craft beers from our region are another way to bring the true taste of Ticino to your aperitif table.
Spritz: Aperol Spritz or Campari Spritz? It’s the old story that sees Venice (home to Aperol) take on Milan (home to Campari). Obviously, it’s all a question of taste, given that Campari is more bitter and stronger. The most popular here is the Aperol Spritz. Or you could always opt for a Spritz Bianco.
Hugo: Originally from the Alto Adige, this aperitif is extremely popular in Ticino thanks to its unusual and refreshing taste. Made from prosecco, elderflower syrup (or lemon balm syrup in its original variant), soda and mint leaves.
Bellini, Rossini, Mimosa or Tintoretto: These are all made from prosecco, combined respectively with white peach pulp (Bellini), strawberry purée (Rossini), orange juice (Mimosa) or pomegranate juice (Tintoretto). These aperitifs are always elegant and colourful!
That was Dolce Vita Rule #7. Do you want to find out what the others are?