Aperitifs making impact in U.S.

A popular aperitif label.
From The New York Times

NEW YORK --  Northern Spy Food Co. had a drinking problem. The farm-to-table restaurant in the East Village had a beer and wine license but wanted to serve cocktails. An additional license for spirits was needed, but Community Board 3 refused the request.

Then a friend, the mixologist Erick Castro, spied a creative opening, right between wine and spirits: aperitifs.

Because many of these classic, bitter before-dinner drinks are wine-based, they could be poured legally. Mr. Castro stocked the drink menu with a selection of Italian and French aperitifs, as well as a few sherry-, vermouth- and apertif-based cocktails, including the Spy Cup, a bracing blend of Dubonnet, ginger wine and two kinds of vermouth.

Mr. Castro had plenty of material to work with. Not in years has such a rich selection of classic aperitifs been available in the United States. Thanks to the work of a few adventurous importers, a slew of little-known European aperitifs has recently reached these shores.

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