Get ready to live la Dolce Vita.
There’s no doubt that classic aperitivos are making a major comeback. And, who could resist? There’s something about dry and citrusy liqueurs splashed with ice and Prosecco that makes us want to grab our best vintage glasses, a bar of rich chocolate, and spend cocktail hour like an Italian.
Chantelle Gabino is an award-winning bartender of Toronto’s Chantecler restaurant and the Drake Hotel.
Aperol Spritz + Lindt Excellence Orange Intense Dark Chocolate
Aperol is on the sweeter side of typical Italian liqueurs but still has an herbaceous flavour with notes of orange, wood and rhubarb. The smooth tannins in Lindt Excellence Orange Intense, and its citrus flavour, which is complemented perfectly by Aperol’s rich and somewhat bitter notes of orange oil and grapefruit, make this dark chocolate a natural match for the popular apéritif.
Prep the Aperol Spritz like a pro by combining 2 oz. of Aperol with 2 oz. of Prosecco and pouring into a large wine glass filled with large ice cubes. Top with sparkling mineral water, which will help open up all of the flavours and garnish with an orange slice.
Negroni + Lindt Excellence Sea Salt Dark Chocolate
A Negroni made with Campari definitely has a bitter bite that is best enhanced with more umami flavour when paired with Lindt Excellence Sea Salt. The salty dark chocolate takes away the sharp edges of the cocktail, while the overall combination finishes with complementary flavours of clove, baking spice and grapefruit.
To mix up an expert Negroni, combine 1.25 oz. gin with .75 oz. each of sweet vermouth and Campari. Serve straight up in an old-fashioned glass, or over one large ice cube to ensure the flavours stay potent.
Sgroppino + Lindt Excellence Intense Mint Dark Chocolate
This after-dinner cocktail (pronounced sgrow-peeno) can easily double as dessert with the addition of a little cream and a diamond of dark chocolate, which goes perfectly with lemon flavours, and echoes the creamy texture of the cocktail.
Create this adult-style float with .5 oz. of vodka, .25 oz. cream, and 1.5 oz. Prosecco in a champagne flute. Top with a small scoop of lemon sorbet and a garnish of fresh mint leaves, and serve with a spoon. Want to take it to the next level for a special event? Use chocolate-covered mint leaves.