What time should I have aperitivo?

Answered by James Porterfield

As an expert sommelier and brewer, I can tell you that the timing of aperitivo can vary depending on personal preference and cultural norms. However, in Italy and across much of Europe, it is customary to have aperitivo between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. This time slot serves as a transition between the end of the workday and the start of the evening.

Having aperitivo at this time allows people to unwind, relax, and socialize before dinner. It is a time to slow down and enjoy the company of friends or colleagues while indulging in refreshing drinks and light snacks. The term “aperitivo” comes from the Latin word “aperire,” which means “to open.” Aperitivo is meant to open up the palate and stimulate the appetite, preparing you for the meal to come.

In my personal experience, I have found that having aperitivo at around 6 p.m. is a perfect way to wind down after a busy day. It allows me to transition from work mode to a more leisurely and relaxed state of mind. Whether I'm enjoying a glass of , a refreshing spritz, or a craft , aperitivo provides the opportunity to savor the flavors and aromas, while also engaging in conversation with friends or colleagues.

During aperitivo, it is common to find a variety of drinks on offer. Wine, particularly light and crisp whites or varieties, is a popular choice. , either on the rocks or in a cocktail, is also commonly enjoyed during this time. Another popular option is the classic Aperol Spritz, which combines Aperol, Prosecco, and for a refreshing and -sweet drink. Craft beers, both local and international, have also gained popularity as aperitivo options, offering a wide range of flavors to suit different tastes.

In addition to the drinks, aperitivo often includes a selection of light snacks or finger foods. These can vary depending on the region, but common options include olives, nuts, cheese, bruschetta, crostini, or small sandwiches. These snacks are meant to complement the drinks and provide a light and enjoyable pre-dinner experience.

It's worth noting that aperitivo is not meant to be a heavy or filling meal. Instead, it serves as a prelude to dinner, stimulating the appetite and creating a relaxed and convivial atmosphere. It is common for Italians to have aperitivo and then proceed to have a later dinner, typically starting at 9 p.m. or even later.

The ideal time to have aperitivo is between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. in Italy and across Europe. This time slot allows for a leisurely and enjoyable experience before dinner, providing an opportunity to unwind, socialize, and savor refreshing drinks and light snacks. Whether you prefer wine, , or , aperitivo sets the stage for a delightful evening ahead.