The Lillet serenade troupe hit the streets serenading New Yorker’s in the Meatpacking District on Thursday evening luring them to enjoy their own aperitif hour in several Meatpacking Bars (La Gazzetta, Paradou & Beaumarchais all served complementary Lillet & Lillet cocktails). Couples swooned over the songs – including a just-married pair! – all accompanied by the traditional French accordion and violinist!
MAISON LILLET Declares May 17th National Aperitif Day
The Old-School Aperitif’s Rise to Modern Day Popularity
to be Celebrated Nationwide
NEW YORK, NY, May 1, 2012 – Maison Lillet, the celebrated vintner in Bordeaux, is taking a bold step to bring awareness to an often under-the-radar libation – the Aperitif – by declaring May 17, 2012 National Aperitif Day. Inspired by the enthusiasm surrounding their first new product in 50 years, Lillet Rosé, Maison Lillet hopes to raise awareness surrounding all of the things that help to whet the appetite.
On that day, Maison Lillet is calling on all aperitif aficionados as well as newcomers to the custom around the country to celebrate the spirit of L’Apero, the French traditional aperitif hour and share a glass of Lillet with friends. Celebrants are invited to follow the day’s festivities by following Lillet on Twitter at: @LadyLillet, tweeting their own aperitif occasion with the hashtag: #Lillet #AperitifDay and posting photos and anecdotes to Lillet’s Facebook page: facebook.com/Lillet.
“We’re excited to bring a renewed focus to an extremely elegant, time-honored tradition,” said Lillet Brand Ambassador, Amanda Boccato. “As the 21st Century unfolds, we strive to keep the best of the past, while moving seamlessly into the future. That’s why we’ve made this declaration in conjunction with the launch of our newest offering, the tradition-bound but quite modern: Rosé from Lillet. Beginning a meal with a small bite and delicious ‘before dinner’ drink is a wonderful custom that deserves attention. We hope it continues for generations to come.”
Aperitif is a French word, from the Latin verb aperire, meaning “to open.” It is mainly used to describe liquid refreshment, but also can refer to food and snacks, such as amuse-bouche, crackers, paté or cheese, that open up the palate and create an appetite.
The concept of drinking a small amount of alcohol to fuel hunger dates back to ancient Egypt, but the first recorded aperitif – known in Italian as the aperitivo – appeared in 1786, when Antonio Benedetto Carpano invented vermouth in Turin, Italy.
The modern French aperitif was created in 1846 by chemist Joseph Dubonnet as a quinine ‘delivery system’ to help people ingest the malaria-fighting medicine. The practical drink soon caught fashion and the aperitif became a widespread ritual across Europe in the late 19th Century. The custom eventually spread to North and Central America as immigrants introduced the practice in their new home.
More recently, the aperitif saw resurgence in popularity in the 1970’s as the pre-meal ritual morphed into the ubiquitous “Happy Hour.” Today, television chefs and authors such as Ina Garten, Emeril Lagasse and Giada De Laurentis have focused on the ‘appetite opener,’ creating a Mango Champagne Aperitif, a Lillet Spritzer (made with Champagne), and a Sgroppino (Italian Cocktail) made with Prosecco respectively. The tradition of creating an appetite with a well-crafted spirit or drink is alive and flourishing. But, of course, the quintessential aperitif is Lillet served on ice with a slice of orange.
On May 17th, choose Lillet Blanc, Rouge or Rosé as your aperitif of choice. Crafted from the best Bordeaux grapes and fine orange liqueur, Lillet is a light and refreshing cocktail that conveys a moment of conviviality and sophistication. The hint of quinine and low alcohol content in each blend not only gives each a slightly bitter taste, but also whets the appetite without cloying the palate. Lillet adds a bit of elegance to any gathering of family and friends and is best suited for when day turns into evening and evening into night. A votre santé and bon appétit!