With the hot summer days finally rolling in full force, we turn our thoughts to old highball standards. The gin and tonic is in its prime, with the Dark and Stormy looming on the horizon. Even stalwartly moderate England has the Pimm's Cup to beat the lukewarms. But real refreshment demands something different, fresh, and not too boozy. Enter Luxardo Aperitivo, a new offering from Northern Italy.
Best known for its Maraschino liqueur (and amazing Marasca cocktail cherries), the Luxardo company's Aperitivo is a move towards exporting a lighter Italian concoction. Made by infusing botanicals into neutral spirit before finishing with sugar for balance, the Aperitivo is not exactly a new beast, inspired by the Italian tradition of a bitter drink before a meal to stimulate the appetite. In the same family as Campari or Aperol, Aperitivo is a welcome new addition, with an easy 11% alcohol content.
The flavors are familiar—bittersweet orange, gentian root, rhubarb, even a hint of sweet ripe strawberry—but the delivery is integrated and full, and the sweetness soothes all around. If Campari is the uncompromising, complex, and bitterly bracing quaff, and Aperol the sweet and heady nectar, then Aperitivo strikes an interesting balance in between. It stands up, confident in its skin, and mixes delightfully with Prosecco or fruit juices. Even better, go 50/50 with soda water and a squeeze of lime.
Imported by Anchor Distilling of San Francisco, Luxardo Aperitivo is available at retailers nationwide for around $20 for 750 mL.
About the author: Andrew Strenio is a lover of all things potable. Since sneaking his grandmother's bourbon balls, he's moved on to touring distilleries and sipping snifters. He works by day making documentary television and films for an independent production company in Brooklyn.
Sample provided for review consideration.