I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I’m madly in love with European culture. I’m hooked on everything about it: the wine, the dine and the style. Particularly, I’m in love with the dining style that Europeans are accustomed to. When you sit down for a fine meal in London, Paris or Firenze, there’s always a defined beginning, middle and end to the experience. Typically, it’s a two or three hour affair, which means that it’s an experience to be eased into. Prepping our bellies and palates before dinner with a proper aperitif cocktail is a nuance we overlook here in America. Food and drink aficionados are pleased to enjoy refreshing, lightly alcoholic aperitifs that cleanse and stimulate the appetite for more to come. Most popular aperitifs typically include Gin, Vermouth or Campari. Champagne is often considered one as well. And, French aperitifs tend to incorporate flavorful liqueurs. Now, it’s time to find your ideal starter sip with Make Room: The Sippin’ 5 Aperitif Cocktails in Hawaii.
Ferraro’s Bar at the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea offers a generous list of Italian inspired aperitif sips. The Red Pepper Italiana is made of Heindrick’s Gin, red bell pepper, mint and fresh lime juice. The Grappa Smash is a simple yet impactful blend of Grappa fresh lemon, mint and sugar. And, the California Negroni is a slight twist on the classic combining Heindrick’s Gin, Sweet Vermouth, Aperol Aperitivo, grapefruit juice and tonic. For a slightly sweeter start, opt for the Venetian Champagne of Bele Casel Prosecco, Aperol Aperitivo and muddled berries. La Vita Italiana!
Ferraro’s Bar is located at 3900 Wailea Alanui Drive www.fourseasons.com/maui 808.874.8000.
Red Salt at Koa Kea
It’s nostalgia revisited at Red Salt in Poipu, Kauai. The much a buzzed about nouveau restaurant and bar serves up a slew of proper aperitif cockail options. Following the 1922 “Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails” recipe book, the Side Car combines Courvoisier VS, Cointreau and fresh lemon juice. Try the Fog Cutter that’s made of Hendrick’s Small Batch Gin, Bacardi Light, Remy VSOP, fresh lemon and orange juice. Or, leisurely sip on the Manhattan for Rome, a classically sophisticated blend of Knob Creek Kentucky Bourbon, Frangelico, and “muddled” cherry.
Red Salt is located at 2251 Poipu Rd. www.koakea.com/dining 808.828.8888.
The Waikiki Edition Hotel
The Aperol Spritz is my personal favorite refreshing libation of choice. It’s the perfect aperitif and easy to sip the entire day long. This cocktail is all the craze in Italy, namely Veneto where it originated. And, the Bar at Sunrise Pool at the Waikiki Edition Hotel has brought it to the Aloha State resulting in an equally wild frenzy for the refreshing drink. The Aperol Spritz is made with Aperol, a bright orange liqueur that’s zesty and refreshing with a unique bitter-sweet taste. Aperol is considered a perfect aperitif because of its fresh, versatile flavor and its low alcohol content of only 11%. The Aperol Spritz is made with Prosecco, Aperol and a splash of soda water. Like a little more bitter in your sip? Head down to the Lobby Bar to visit lead bartender, Sam Treadway, he’ll serve up the elder cousin to the Aperol Spritz. The Americano is made of Aperol, Campari, sweet vermouth and soda water to lighten it up. “This delightfully, light and refreshing drink has just enough bitterness to make you know your alive, but it’s not as bitter as your ex-wife!,” says Treadway. Like the spritz it’s also low in alcohol, so you can make it an all day affair. If in the mood for something even stronger, Treadway pours a perfect Negroni Cocktail.
Waikiki Edition Hotel is located at 1775 Ala Moana Blvd. www.editionhotels.com 808.943.5800.
Hale Ahe Ahe
The Hale Ahe Ahe or “House of Gentle Breeze” is an open-air lounge with stunning ocean-views. Located on the island of Lanai at the Four Seasons Manele Bay the bar and respective cocktail menu keeps it classic with its ambiance and cocktail list. This bar is one of the best places for a pre-dinner sip not only because of its stellar location but also selection of paradise friendly aperitif sips. The Peruvian Pisco Sour blends Barsol Pisco Acholado, fresh lime and natural egg white. For a tart start choose the Brazilian Leblon Caipirihnha with Leblon Cachaca, fresh lime and natural sugar. And, for a refreshing twist sip the Havana Hemingway Daiquiri that’s made with Ten Cane Rum, Cherry Liqueur, fresh lime juice and grapefruit juice.
Hale Ahe Ahe Lounge is located at One Manele Bay Rd. www.fourseasons.com/manelebay 808.565.2000.
The Wai’olu Lounge is not only the ideal spot for a starter sip but also to take in the breathtaking sunset before dinnertime. Choose from an array of aperitif cocktails starting with the That’s a Moray, a blend of Bombay Gin, fresh lime sour, hibiscus syrup and Prosecco. The Golden Green Goby is another great choice combining Ty-Ku liqueur, Skyy Citrus, lemongrass-ginger tea, fresh honeydew and cucumber, refreshing on it’s own or preceding any meal. And with Wai’olu located in the Trump Hotel Waikiki, its no surprise that top-knotch champagne cocktails also make an appearance on the menu. Every Thursday, there’s even a champagne tasting event where guests enjoy three-flights of fizz with a trio of amuse bouche.