This refreshing aperitif is smooth, citrusy, and somehow both delicate and bold. It’s a brilliant late summer before dinner drink, and an equally fabulous late winter drink, as it’s bright citrusy flavor will inspire you with thoughts of sunnier days.
I always wanted to be that family, you know.
The one where they had not a happy hour but a martini hour. Where dinner was always sharply at 7 (or 8 if we want to get continental) and perfectly chilled, brilliantly boozy cocktails in bright shining glasses made heir way into hands each evening at 5, and you would probably “dress” for dinner.
Basically, I wanted to be in an old movie I suppose. Now that I’m an adult my husband and I often have our own little happy hour in the evenings. In the beginning we’d start with just wine, but in all honesty, I really like cocktails and I like the entry and tone they can set for an evening.
I love the creativity of cocktails and the art that goes into a well crafted drink. I am also really drawn to the complex flavor profiles, and I love it when a bartender can challenge my palate with something (Campari I’m looking at you).
I really am no bartender, but I like to play.
And since I’ve rebranded this blog from Coquette Kitchen to Biscuits & Booze I feel like I simply MUST up my cocktail game. See what I did there?
Of course, I’m still nursing, so I usually only get a sip or two of the cocktails these days and then pass them on to my husband. But hey ho, I won’t always be nursing. And I have a beautiful vintage martini pitcher all ready for THE DAY I am no longer nursing.
Still, I’ve been having a blast diving in to cocktail books both old and new. I have always had a fondness for Pre-Prohibition, or classic cocktails. And to really understand cocktails, or where spirit culture is going, I think you need to start there.
I’ll be sharing some of what I learn along the way. I hope you find it as interesting as I do – and if not, feel free to skip on down to the recipe and get boozy!
What IS an Aperitif anyhow?
An aperitif is a drink enjoyed before dinner, and is designed to open the palate, or prepare you for dinner. Jeannette Hurt, in an article for Tales of the Cocktail entitled The French Art of Aperitifs, quotes Camille Hurt, a brand ambassador for St Germain, discussing the difference between aperitifs and the more American happy hour. Hurt says, “The aperitif is something else. It’s not at the end of something, it’s the beginning of something.”
While aperitifs are classically low ABV (alcohol by volume), the martini is also, by design, an aperitif. And in my opinion, well, martinis are boozy. I adore them though. So don’t think that aperitifs are “wussy” drinks by any means. They frequently employ gin or vodka, have strong herbal notes, and vermouth is a component in many, many aperitifs.
So what is vermouth?
Vermouth is, basically, wine. Chad Eschman, in an article for VinePair entitled “Everything You Think You Know About Vermouth is Wrong” defines the vermouth category thus:
Vermouth is a fortified and aromatized wine. Basically: wine spiked with brandy, infused with herbs and spices, and sweetened. There are two main varieties: red (sweet) vermouth, which originally hails from Italy, and white (dry) vermouth, which first appeared in France. Wormwood, of absinthe fame, is dry vermouth’s hallmark ingredient.
He goes on to add that vermouth is a lovely aperitif on its own, chilled, with perhaps “a twist of citrus.” A bartender friend of mine recently recommended a glass of Dolin Blanc vermouth on the rocks, with perhaps a bit of spritz to freshen it up, and I’ve found this is a lovely aperitif.
And make no mistake, a classic martini features vermouth.
Paul Clarke in a post for Serious Eats entitled The Martini Recipe says:
But for at least the first five decades of its circulation, ever since a drink with that name and this general description first appeared around 1900, a martini required vermouth—a lot of it, none of this atomizer business or that stale “glance in the direction of a vermouth bottle” hokum. And early on, much of the vermouth making its way into martinis was of the sweet Italian variety rather than French dry—hence, a “dry martini” was a drink made with dry vermouth, not one with as little vermouth as possible.
Clarke adds that “It wasn’t until the Mad Men era that the less-is-better approach to vermouth really started catching on.” And vermouth-less or even vermouth light martinis are interesting because, frankly, they become boozier, and are less of a gentle glide into the night.
I’m pro vermouth, when it comes to martinis and aperitifs. How about you? Have you sampled sweet vermouth versus dry vermouth? Do you prefer a dirty martini, a sweet vermouth martini (aka a Manhattan), or a classic martini?
And I’m not even going to get in to shaken versus stirred right now. We’ll save THAT for a later post!
Interested in learning more about aperitifs?
Check out this post about 10 classic aperitifs you can make at home for your next dinner party (or plain old Thursday – no judgement here!). And let me know what your favorite is in the comments!
Why is it “A Season of Opportunity?”
Mainly because I get to name it and that’s the name I chose. But I also think this cocktail is bright and fun, and makes me think of sunshine, or a sunrise, so I’m going with it.
I am referring, in my home, to this period in my life as A Season of Opportunity. I recently left my incredibly unfulfilling full time job to teach part time at a local university and work on a few other side projects. This means I will get to spend more time with my baby, AND get to work here on this blog more.
Because y’all, I love this blog work.
Don’t get me wrong – it IS work. But I find this project one of the most creatively rewarding things I have ever done. And I want to do more of it. I hope, at some point, to be able to turn it in to a full time income in and of itself.
But for now, I am happy to be teaching writing at a local university, to be plugging away at my blog, and to be there when my baby wakes up from his naps.
And, of course, to be learning more about the boozes. Wink emoji.
Want to check out some of my other cocktail recipes? Check out this Blackberry Sage and Bourbon Cocktail, and this one here!
A Season of Opportunity Blood Orange Aperitif Recipe
- 2 Ounces Vodka
- 1 Ounce Dolin Blanc Vermouth
- 1 Ounce Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur
- 1 Dash Angostura Orange Bitters
- Add all ingredients to a shaker filled with ice.
- Stir for 40 revolutions.
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a twist of orang peel.
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Love anything blood orange! Looks great
I love the idea of a martini hour! Of course, then I’d never get anything done after dinner, but worth it 🙂 I actually recently surprised my husband with Solerno because we love blood oranges… It was SO good! This aperitif looks perfect 🙂
That blood orange liqueur sounds fabulous! I have to try this!
Wouldn’t it be fun to be That Family! I’ll be making your Blood Orange Aperitif and practicing 🙂
Love to work with blood orange, slurpppp!
I will admit I am a boring cocktail maker, but I love blood oranges and might just have to try this one! 😉
Of all the varieties of oranges, blood orange is my favourite. This would be the perfect fall drink, and as for “that family”…wouldn’t it be nice? These day everyone is running in different directions, and trying to eat together is a challenge for most people. Sad really.
Oh I love a drink like that all seasons too!! Can’t wait to try it!! And it looks perfectly simple and easy 🙂
I love aperitif’s and this looks so yummy. I love blood oranges, especially this liqeuer. How fun! I did use to be a bartender and am known for my cocktails, and I can’t wait to share your recipe with my guests.
Oh thanks Elaine! Let me know what you think after you try it
Every time I come here, I learn something new! <3
I adore anything blood orange! I’m a little sad the color isn’t more vibrant, but it looks absolutely lovely and exactly like a drink I’d drink.
Love blood orange and this sounds fancy, but looks easy! Count me in!
So many uses for the Blood Orange!
I had no idea there was such a thing as blood orange liqueur. Going to have to try this recipe out. 🙂
You have a wonderful blog and amazing recipes! Looks like a must try 🙂
I like simple drinks that bring out the best of each ingredient; this one does it perfectly. And I like the point when the ice melts just a bit and melds everything together.
This is interesting, love the photography.
What a perfect drink for the season!
I love blood orange liqueurs, they are just that much sharper to regular. This is an awesome cocktail!
You know, there is something romantic about the old movies. I have to agree with you there, and your cocktail looks fantastic!
I love how you used the orange here and I love aperitifs. It really sets the tone of the night.
I’ll have to try this out when I need to an adult beverage.
Martini hour sounds perfect. I think I need to have a couple martini days. I could really use this drink right now! I haven’t made my own drinks yet but you have inspired me! Think I will start by trying your recipe!
Yum! This looks similiar to a martini, but with much more flavor!