Last year I went to Florence and I haven’t been able to stop blabbering on about it to whoever cares, or indeed pretends to listen, ever since. My stomach is still full from the ravioli and brain wired on Italian strength espressos. A while later, my housemate returned from Venice, wide eyed, freckled and armed with Aperol. Duty Free makes a mockery of us every time, using up our last euros to buy cut priced sticky drinks – the type of tipples that we hope will taste just as delicious at home, as when sipped in of an evening in a dusty Italian square, under the dappled light of olive trees.


You see the Italians have got it just right. Come 6pm they retreat and natter over a glass or two of appetite heightening, ice cold refreshment. So steal the last rays of sunshine, take your anti-histamines, find some green space, and get your Aperitivo on:

1. Fino & Tonic

2013-09-05_Waitrose Salted Almonds & Sherry 98934

We love sherry, click here to read more about its nutty fortification. Chuck out that sickly, creamy stuff and opt for something a touch more refined. F&T is a delicious – if you are a sherry sceptic the drink offers a little comforting, citrusy dilution and if you a sherry nut it is a refreshingly simple summertime sling.

 45ml The Gonzalez Byass Delicado Fino Sherry (13.95, Waitrose Cellar)

Fever Tree Tonic Water 

Fill a tall Collins glass with ice, pour in the sherry and top up with tonic to taste. Serve with a slice of orange.

2. Port & Tonic

White Port Lifestyle Shot

Port and lemonade is considered to be about as classy as getting a Newcastle United Tattoo on holiday in Magaluf. Port and cheese is considered by many to preceed the mother of all hangovers. That said, everything deserves a second chance. For something lip smacking and utterly delicious, plump for red & tawny’s younger brother white port, with a splash of tonic- the P&T.

1/3 Chilled Graham’s Fine White Port (available here, £11.95)

2/3 Chilled Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic Water 


Fill a tumbler with ice, pour in the port and tonic water, stir and garnish with a slice or twist of lemon.

3. Kamm & Sons


Kamm & Sons describes itself as a ‘British Aperitif’, we like to think of it as a highly spiced gin. Firstly, 41 botanicals are steeped in booze, before the high strength spirit is redistilled. After this the remaining four botanicals are left to infuse in pure alcohol for four weeks, creating a honey-like remedy. Both liquids are blended together and a touch of water and sugar are added. The resulting aperitif is full of gingseng and honey, is bitter-sweet and delicious. We like sipping Kamm & Sons in a spritz.

Brit Spritz:

35ml Kamm & Sons (£28, Ocado) 

15ml Elderflower Cordial 

50ml English Sparkling Wine, we suggest Chapel Down (£20.79, Waitrose Cellar)

50ml Soda Water 

Pour all the ingredients into a wine glass filled with ice, stir well. Squeeze a wedge of grapefruit into the concoction and garnish with more grapefruit and cucumber.

4. Vermouth & Tonic


Skipping back to Italy, try Cocchi Americano this summer. Oskar Kinberg, Oskar’s Bar at Dabbous calls the vermouth his ketchup, as it makes drinks taste better! A secret blend of herbs, spices and botanicals is used to infuse the wine, added to a white Muscato di Asti base and then steeped and rested for a year.

Americano is delicious in a negroni (stir equal parts of Cocchi, Aperol and Gin over ice and serve with orange peel) alternatively sip it solo:

60ml Cocchi Americano (From £18,99, Selfridges, The Whisky Exchange


Fill a tumbler with ice, pour over the vermouth and garnish with a slice of grapefruit.

5. Air Your Dirty Laundry


Meredith O’Shaughnessy has teamed up with Whirpool, yes Whirlpool washing machines, to create their very own boozy  laundrette. For five nights only (23rd June onwards) guests are invited to rinse their confessions clean. The pop-up has installed specially modified washing machines, so guests can watch their cocktails be rinsed, churned and spun.

Sip a cheeky little laundrette style Aperitivo: Signorina Bubbles Laundrette Moonshine (Bourbon, Vanilla Syrup & Vodka, served in a small bottle and Apple Juice, Lemon & Vanilla Syrup served in a larger detergent bottle).

14 Percy Street, W1, 7pm-1am, tickets are priced at £15, including a cocktail, click here to buy.