Aperitifs seem to be pretty popular here, and almost every time I have gone out to eat, we socialize and drink from the cocktail menu before ever thinking about ordering food. It’s a type of restauranting that is very different from what I am accustomed to in the States. For one, I have yet to see a sit-down chain restaurant here, and two, no dinner has been under two hours yet, even at the most casual of places. Contrast that with my myriad experiences in large national chain restaurants in the States, where everything is so rushed that before you even realize it, you are out the door and never really had a chance to think about what your food tasted like. All of a sudden you realize that you’ve really missed being able to take time to actually enjoy food and the company around you. Going out to eat can be more than just a way to grab some grub because you don’t want to cook, it can be an experience all in of itself.
Part of that experience has often started with aperitifs, a nice taste to sip on while you start to become tantalized by the beckoning aromas wafting from the kitchen. One of my favorite drinks that I have had here is a combination of champagne and crème de cassis, a sweet blackcurrant liqueur. I have a penchant for champagne-based cocktails, mainly because I love how the fizz laughs and dances on my nose every time I lift the glass to my lips. A dry champagne helps temper the almost sickly sweet of the cassis, and the addition of a little bit of peach nectar really rounds out this drink as well.
Luckily, these drinks are super easy to make at home, and serving drinks with little bites before a meal can help create a social atmosphere for visiting with family and friends. After all, while eating and tasting delicious food is well and good, it is the memories that we make with each other that we really cherish. Sometimes it’s better to not focus solely on getting a meal out. Delay the food for a bit, and enjoy spending a bit of time with each other.
Ingredients (for each serving):
3 oz. champagne brut
1 oz. crème de cassis
1/2 oz – 1 oz. splash of peach nectar (optional, but recommended)
1. Open champagne – gently and discreetly keeps the champagne in the bottle.
2. Pour champagne in a glass, and then add the crème de cassis and peach nectar. Give it a swirl or stir, and then serve and enjoy.
Ideally one would serve these in cute champagne flutes. We don’t own any yet, please bear with us as we navigate home and kitchen shopping in a language we really need to learn more of quickly!