As we prepare to exit summer later this week, I’ve been thinking about the elements of the season that I want to carry forward. This is especially important as the threat of more lockdowns loom due to the slow emergence of the second wave of COVID here in Europe. This brings me to my one big inspiration for the week, Aperitivo Hour, which is a unique anchor in my daily rhythm, which I will continue as the weather cools.
My family and I resurrected this nightly ritual during the first lockdown (March – June 2020). Still, we kept it going all summer because we look forward to it marking the end of our work or school day. An Aperitivo Hour sounds decadent. Although it can be, it’s essentially an at-home version of activities many of us used to do after a day at the office – grab a pint, a G&T, or a coffee with colleagues. Anyway, what’s life without a dash of decadence!
Known as Aperitivo in Spanish term, as an aperitif in English, and as un apéro in French – it probably won’t surprise you to learn that it means a pre-dinner drink. But, as a daily ritual, Aperitivo Hour is much more meaningful; it’s an easy mindfulness practice to enjoy by yourself or with others. Best of all, it can take all of 5 minutes to prep.
My family and I regard our Aperitivo Hour as a time for reconnection after a day of being online. We gather around the table on the patio (or the family room couch on a rainy day), a beverage of choice in hand, and nibble on a few seasonal snacks, or whatever we have in the fridge. When we have a little extra time, we might whip up a quick homemade snack – like hummus or tzatziki. But, typically, we keep it simple, snacking on olives, fresh-cut veggies (carrots, peppers, celery), crostini breadsticks (I’m obsessed with those) and other simple bits. If we’re feeling a bit fancy, or maybe it’s a Friday, we add paté, tapenade, or even a glass of fizz. Then, we slow ourselves down, talk about the day, laugh (or cry), and sort out the plans for dinner, the next day or the weekend.
A household with small children can benefit from this kind of reconnection time, with children learning to participate in this beautiful adult ritual. In fact, I wish I had started this ritual when my children were younger. This summer our friends from Denmark visited us with their four-year-old twin girls. Our Aperitivo Hour happened a little earlier that day, as they were hungry from their drive. While the adults sipped champagne, the girls climbed around the outdoor sofa, juice box in hand, nibbling on veggies, strawberries, and fresh-cut watermelon and showing us their toys. We hadn’t seen the girls since they were babies, and Aperitivo Hour was the perfect get-to-know-you time. We relaxed together and then set off on a pre-dinner walk through town.
So, as the days get shorter, introduce Aperitivo Hour into your life. Slow the world down for a few minutes. Have a healthy snack. Reconnect with yourself, your partner, your children, or your flatmates. Sip on a glass of sparkling water with lemon, wine, fizz, or your favourite seasonal before-dinner cocktail.
Then, inhale, exhale and let the day melt away as the evening arrives.
Aperitivo Hour: soul-satisfying and so Simply Eau-de-Vie.