An aperitif is a beverage served before a meal to kickstart the appetite and set the tone for convivial festivities ahead. The fast-approaching Easter weekend is the perfect time to meet with friends and family, break bread and make the most of mild autumnal afternoons. Wet the whistle with an aperitif of depth and intrigue. They're also great before brunch, and for Easter egg hunts.
Fot-Li Vermut Rojo, Spain, $35
An encounter with this vermouth is unforgettable. As aperitifs go, this heart-starter straight out of Reus, Spain, ticks all the boxes. No fewer than 19 botanicals flirt with the senses like a troupe of flamenco dancers, delivering hints of cloves, lavender, spice, cigars and more. It is seductive straight, but for an aperitif your guests will remember, bang it in a large glass full of ice with a wedge of orange and a green olive. Add soda water to bring it down a notch. 16 per cent alcohol.
Find it at paytenandjoneswine.com.au
The Everleigh Bottling Co. Bellini, Vic, $18.95/four-pack
Finally, a zero-alcohol party-starter with all the bang minus the booze. Everleigh Bottling Co's single-serve mocktail delivers intense apricots and peach flavours, nipped at the bud with an ever-so subtle lick of salt. It's not too sweet, not at all sickly, just the right amount of fizz. Serve cold in a flute, just as you would a traditional Bellini (white peach puree and Prosecco). A real class act. 0 per cent alcohol.
Find it at everleighbottling.com
St Walter 2021: Gamay, NSW, $100/magnum
Act fast to get your mitts on the new-release wizardry by Wildflower Brewing and Blending. The vanguards of experimentation and creativity released this beer, a blend of barrel-aged ale made with handpicked, whole-bunch gamay – a French red wine grape variety – from Murrumbateman's Ravensworth Estate. The limited release was so popular, all 100 standard bottles sold out but you can still find magnums online. If you make it snappy. 6.2 per cent alcohol.
Find it at wildflowerbeer.com