Why wait for dinner or a cocktail party to toast the end of the work day, work week, end of year or holiday season? Why wait for a straight up martini to enjoy an aperitif in fine French fashion for that matter? I am speaking of the French aperitif, Noilly Prat, of course. In the past I have only used Noilly Prat as a thin rinse over the inside of my martini glass before a premium vodka or gin enters for a refreshing splash of liquid attraction. However, there is so much more to this little aperitif designed to stimulate the appetite and warm the evening.
Laura Rossacher from Deussen Global out of New York enlightened me to the world of Noilly Prat cocktails. Along with beautiful cocktails, Laura sent entertaining tips for the holidays to accompany and complement Noilly Prat. By following these suggestions, no doubt you will relax in style as host and your guests will bask in luxury and comfort as they are pampered in true French extravagance. As you will see with these simple entertaining ideas, a sophisticated cocktail atmosphere awaits with little difficulty at all.
- Serve cocktails that are light in body, fresh, and lively. Your choice should be refreshing, not too serious or overpowering. The goal is to enliven the palate, and to give your guests something to sip on easily while talking and greeting other guests. Most aperitifs are served cool.
- Choose small, appetizing glasses for your aperitif. Small glasses feel celebratory and are a nice little treat before you move on to dinner and more full-bodied drinks.
- The best time to serve an aperitif is when greeting people at the door. If you do not want to bartend, just set out aperitif bottles, a bucket of ice cubes, bottled sparkling and still waters, oranges and lemons, and let guest serve themselves. The traditional aperitif garnishes are lemon zests and orange peels. Use a vegetable peeler if you do not have a channel knife on hand.
- As the aperitif precedes a meal, accompaniments are light and easy: Common appetizers are mixed nuts, olives, canapés with typical French spreads (anchovy, salmon, lemon crab), cheese cubes, onion tart, dry sausage, or vegetables with homemade dips.
- Enjoy your aperitif in a comfortable area of your house or apartment, like the sofa, bar area, balcony or garden. A comfortable setting matches the purpose of the aperitif: to introduce a feeling of celebration, relaxation and comfort.
Noilly Prat Original Dry vermouth, once considered as a secondary cocktail ingredient, has come up with clever pre-dinner cocktails in the French tradition designed to stimulate the palate. Delicate aromas of nutmeg and nut, completed by notes of chamomile and coriander, are the perfect starters for an evening of dining and socializing. With the French lifestyle trend growing, and with a terrific price of $10 the following cocktails making entertaining at home relaxing and pleasurable.
3-1/5 ounces NOILLY PRAT Original French Dry Vermouth
1 ounce Crème de Cassis
2 Lemon Peels – Garnish
Place Noilly Prat and crème de cassis in a rocks glass over ice. Stir. Garnish with a lemon peel zested over the glass.
1 large orange peel, spiraled
2 ounces NOILLY PRAT Original French Dry Vermouth
1 ounce OTARD® Cognac
Top off with Ginger Ale
Peel an entire orange with an orange peeler or thin knife. Carefully spiral the peel from bottom to top inside a highball or sling glass. Add ice to the glass inside the spiraled citrus peel. Add Noilly Prat and cognac. Top with ginger ale.
The Ultimate French Martini
1/2 ounce NOILLY PRAT® Original French Dry Vermouth
2 ounces GREY GOOSE® Vodka
Olive or Lemon Twist – Garnish
Place Noilly Prat and vodka into a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir until well chilled. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with olive or lemon twist.
Noilly Prat vermouth is the first premium French vermouth on the market. It is extremely fashionable in its home country, France as an aperitif. In early January 2009, Noilly Prat is introducing its European blend to the United States, which will replace the blend currently available in America. The main difference between the American and the European blend lies in aging. While the American blend is solely aged indoors, the European blend is aged outdoors for a total of 12 months to expose the wines to the same climate conditions they were exposed to back in the 1800s when transported on slow sailing ships.
Recipes provided by Noilly Prat representatives.
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