Cocchi Americano, Bonal, and Cardamaro: We've got a lot of drinking to do.

Aperitifs @ PG

Now at the shop: some of the latest must-have sippers. Check out this great New York Times article about the aperitif- and wine-based cocktails served at an East Village restaurant.

Cocchi Americano

Bon Appetit declared this to be the summer of Cocchi (pronounced “co-key”), and it’s popping up more frequently in local restaurants. You’ll need a bottle (or two) if you want to maintain your status as a Person of Good Living.

From yet another NYT article:  “This aperitivo – something along the lines of a vermouth – has been made since 1891 from moscato d’asti, a sweet white wine fortified with a touch of brandy, then flavored with gentian, cinchona bark and other bittering aromatics, along with orange peels and herbs. There are any number of similar products on the market, but what has cocktail enthusiasts excited about Cocchi is that it is secretly acknowledged to be the most similar product in existence to the old-formula Kina Lillet.”

The original Kina Lillet had more quinine, so it was more bitter than today’s Lillet, making it much more punchy and interesting when used in cocktails such as the Vesper and the Corpse Reviver. You can also do like the Italians and drink it on ice, with a dash of soda water and an orange slice. ($18.99)


The bottles of this apéritif wine feature a picture of a key and the tagline “ouvre l’appétit,” or, open the appetite, which we love. It’s made with a base of Mistelle (partially fermented grape juice to which alcohol has been added) that is infused with quinine, gentian, and renowned herbs from the Grand Chartreuse Mountains. Try it neat, on the rocks with a twist, or use in place of sweet vermouth in cocktails, such as a Negroni, for an extra bitter oomph. There’s also a great cocktail out of Dalva in San Francisco (featured here in the SF Gate) that mixes it with rye and plenty of orange flavors. Yum! ($18.99)


This Amaro from Piedmont is made with wine infused with cardoon (a relative of the artichoke), blessed thistle (a delightful weed once used to treat bubonic plague; now one of the flavors found in Benedictine liqueur), and other botanicals found on the Bosca estate. It’s reportedly less bitter than many other amaros (“amari”?), with a nutty, spicy, almost wintery quality to it. Try it neat or on the rocks. Showed up this past winter in an incredible cocktail at Poppy; look for it to start popping up on shelves of the more imaginative restaurants and bars. ($20.99)

Dolin vermouth, available in blanc, dry, or sweet.

As usual: We’re stocked with plenty of Dubonnet, Lillet Blanc and Rouge, and Dolin vermouths. Viva l’apéritif!

Thanks for reading, see you soon!

Steve Winston and Sharon Baden
Owners, Paris Grocery