"A stemmed glass of chilled dry white wine with a dash of cassis in it can lead gracefully to all kinds of skullduggery, gastronomical or otherwise."
-M.F.K. Fisher, Aperitifs: The Civilizing Influence
The aperitif is a delightful tradition, capable of creating as much fun and festivity now as when Ms. Fisher wrote those words way back in 1958.
Whenever I visit my friend Leah's house, whether for a quick hello or a serious chat (or a former that turns into the latter), she graciously offers me an aperitif. Her current signature drink is delicate and refreshing- Lillet, sparkling orange water, and an orange peel- but the gesture is far more important than the recipe. The drink she offers sets our time together apart from the errands I was running, the jarring bus ride over, and the painting she's been working on.
It creates a moment! With a thoughtfully provided drink and good company, and perhaps some chips, a kitchen table beats out the finest bar in town. And though skullduggery may ensue, drunkenness doesn't, due to the light nature of most aperitifs. We head back to the bus, back to our work, ready for more.
Image: Tokyo Terrace