Create your own happy hour when entertaining at home this summer. Serving aperitifs allows your guests to unwind and mingle a bit before the meal. Consider it the party before the party. Traditionally aperitifs are refreshing, light beverages like Champagne or a cocktail with Lillet, Dubonnet, Campari, or perhaps St. Germain.
You may serve small bites to accompany, and they can be as fancy or simple as you like. Choose one or two items for your savory aperitifs from our ideas and recipes below. From the showstopping foie gras rose to the simplest of crostini, there is something satisfying for everyone. This pre-meal noshing is not meant to fill you up, but instead to stimulate your appetite so you can fully enjoy the upcoming meal. Make it the happiest hour of the evening with one of these recipes.
1. Warm gougeres are light enough to not spoil dinner, yet rich and satisfying. Our truffle butter gougeres are little umami bombs and perfect alongside a glass of wine. Serve them plain, or stuff them as we did below.
2. Warm, salty mixed nuts are always a perfect pair with drinks. Toss the nuts in a little duck fat before roasting them in the oven for a flavor boost.
3. A small charcuterie platter is an easy aperitif solution. Set out a couple cured meats, like saucisson sec and Jambon de Bayonne, along with some crackers, cornichons, and a wedge of French cheese.
For a Spanish take on the charcuterie platter, slice fully-cooked chorizo sausage and pair with almonds, olives, manchego cheese, and some crusty bread.
4. Everyone loves bacon. Sweet, salty, smoky, and tart – these bacon wrapped dates with goat cheese have it all. They come together quickly and make a great party food.
5. Begin with a baguette, then add exotic mushrooms, truffle butter, and creamy Taleggio cheese to make these crispy mushroom & Taleggio crostini. So easy, and so addictive.
6. Bacon jam is a sweet & salty condiment that’s excellent on burgers, used like chutney with grilled and roasted meats, or just slathered on your favorite toasted bread. For happy hour, we opt for the latter.
7. For a sweet conversation starter serve these gorgeous foie gras & apple rose tarts. While they may look complicated, they’re made in under an hour with only 5 ingredients. Pair with pink Champagne or rosé for a lovely presentation.