WHERE DOES THE APERITIVO PRACTICE COMES FROM? IS IT LIKE APERITIF? AND DOES IT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH ROMAN LIBATIONS?
Dear Curious Readers,
Let's start with the first and obvious question: Where does the word come from? What does it mean?
"Aperitif" comes from the Latin "aperire" which means "to open"... not a bottle, but the natural escape routes... In other words, this drink was considered ...
If the word is today attached to the idea of alcoholic drink, the aperitif was originally a medicine. In the Encyclopedia, Diderot and d'Alembert (18th century) explain that "Aperitifs are suitable in all cases where obstruction is the cause or effect of the disease".
At the same time the meaning evolves, and the idea spreads that the aperitif must above all "open" ... the appetite
In 1846, Joseph Dubonnet, a wine and spirits merchant in Paris, had the idea of creating a wine to fight against malaria. It was indeed the beginning of the African colonial campaigns, and the Foreign Legion confronted the hordes of mosquitoes.
Dubonnet is using a new product, a wine made from cinchona, a tree whose bark is very rich in quinine, a natural anti-malarial agent. Its beverage causes a big bitterness, but cures fevers. The sale of this wine to the colonies contributed to the democratization of the aperitif, the military being excellent propagators of drinking habits.
In short, it is in the 19th century that drinks appeared and the transition between medicine and pleasure was made. Others will say that it is also at this time that the transition between medicine and addiction is made. They would not be wrong. It is at this time that doctors also begin to warn of the risks associated with excessive alcohol consumption.
We have to wait a few decades more for the aperitif to really become a shared rite. « La main gauche", a short story by Maupassant published in 1889, bears witness to this shift towards the rite of sociability.
As proof, this excerpt featuring two young Parisian dandies:
"The two young men were sitting in front of a large café on the boulevard, drinking liqueurs mixed with water, these aperitifs that look like infusions made with all the nuances of a watercolor can"*. Maupassant
At the end of the 19th century, practices evolved. Far from being a simple drink, the aperitif is now a moment of conviviality in its own right: it's time for the aperitif, or more commonly the aperitif.
The Industrial Revolution overturned the traditional structures of the family or the village community. Coming from the countryside to find work, a large working class develops. Lost in the inhospitable cities, the workers try to recreate themselves around bars and cafés.
To quote the writer and academician Paul Morand, in his book Ouvert la nuit : "The aperitif is the evening prayer of the French**".
At the extreme end of the 19th century, the cocktail arrives from the United States and changes the game, or at least instills class differences.
Far from drinks made from plants, the first cocktails were prepared with gin, cognac or champagne. The idea was to meet over a drink before a meal. We observe a new phenomenon: Cocktails for the high and idle social classes in clubs and bars dedicated to spirits vs. the plant-based aperitif at coffee barcounters for workers.
During the middle age, in panic over the idea of dying of poison, the lords would clatter twice with their guests so that all the contents would be mixed together and that if someone had the idea of putting poison in a glass, they would end up with it in their own.
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