L’apéro short for l’apéritif is the French classy American Happy Hour. Where does the word apéritif come from ? It comes from the Latin “aperire” which means to open and in that sense to stimulate your appetite before a meal or ouvrir l’appétit.
“Prendre l’apéro” is a French ritual of getting together with friends or family and having some drinks or cocktails before dinner or lunch. During the summer vacation it is not uncommon to have two apéro a day before each meals!
It is a convivial time to unwind, socialize while sipping your favorite drink and nibbling or grignoter on some little snacks or amuse-gueules such as almonds, olives, saucisson, charcuterie, veggie sticks etc… unless you’re having an Apéro Dînatoire which will be in lieu of dinner or a snack dinner and in that case there are many creative options from a simple cheese tray, some pissaladière, or brochettes.
L’apéro is such a social ritual that the French had to improvise it during the confinement and thus the Skype or Zoom apéro were the norms. French lifestyle is about human connection and savoir vivre after all!
My favorite French cocktail or apéro is: Kir Royal! The original Kir is a delicious mix of white wine such as a Bourgone Aligoté ( or any nice white wine you prefer) and black-currant liqueur or crème de cassis. To make it royal, replace white wine with an ice-chilled champagne and a dash of crème de cassis and voilà enjoy Kir Royal! ( Garnish with a lemon twist, optional.)
Another favorite, especially on the weekend is the ever bubbly Mimosa! A simple blend of champagne bubbly and fresh orange juice or grapefruit juice ever-flowing during California Champagne Brunch… or anytime!
Other popular French cocktails include Pastis or Ricard especially during the summer, Rosé de Provence, Kir (wine and crème de cassis), Wine, Panaché beer & soda, Lillet, Suze,
C’est l’heure de l’apéro! Alors trinquons, let’s toast! Cheers! A votre Santé! A la votre! Tchin Tchin!
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