It's time to officially bring back the aperitif. I'm not talking happy-hour margaritas here, but light, appetite-whetting refreshments to sip (ideally outside) at dusk. Something a little bitter and not too boozy—the perfect aperitif doesn't even really need to include a strong spirit, just some aromatized wine or amaro, sometimes a dash of soda or tonic, just the thing to ease into evening (and accompany a plate of appetizers.)
The folks behind the bar at The Modern in New York City are with me on the aperitif issue. The Modern's spring cocktail menu includes a wide range of light drinks that will be just right for when their terrace opens mid-May. "If you lighten up the drinks you're serving," says wine director Ehren Ashkenazi, "people feel free to experiment, try a cocktail and then have a glass of wine...or two...later."
We convinced Ehren to share a few recipes for the folks at home: here are five delicious aperitif cocktails to make this spring. Check out the drinks in the slideshow above (or in person at The Modern), or go straight to the recipes via the links below.