Wine can be a portal that lets us experience the history of a place and the culture of a nation. It can take us to another place and connect us to the earth with its rich taste and aroma. This is exactly what cappelletti embodies.
If you like Campari or vermouth, you must try Cappelletti, a newer kind of Italian aperitif that’s made from herbs and fruits. Like Campari, it can be easily paired with other drinks, such as soda and bourbon.
Learn more about Cappelletti and why this Italian red liqueur could be your next favorite drink.
What is Aperitivo Cappelletti?
Aperitivo Cappelletti or Cappelletti is a wine-based Italian liquor that was first established by the Cappelletti family in 1906. The family originally planned to sell herbal remedies, but it evolved into a wine business. The family also infused wines with various medical herbs and sold them as health tonics. The plantation was first located in the center of Trento, in the historic Piazza Fiera. But they’re now in Aldeno, which is 20 km south of Trento.
It’s made with herbs, flowers, citrus and roots with a wine base instead of a neutral spirit, which gives off a unique full-bodied flavor. The red color is made from natural carmine, a dye extracted from insects.
Italians say “aperitivo,” meaning a beverage that is served before a meal, or a pre-meal beverage meant to stimulate the appetite. Cappelletti is known as a pre-meal drink because it’s light on the alcohol and soft in character.
For the locals, this Italian aperitif can be considered as the oldest classic red bitter that’s still in production. The brand Aperitivo Cappelletti is not yet as popular in the US. But its producer, Antica Erboristeria Cappelletti, also sells other liquors, like amari, vermouth and more, so it’s bound to catch on.
Is Cappelletti the same as Campari?
Both wines have similarities. They’re both red bitter wines made from flowers, roots and herbs, and they both got their red color from natural carmine. Cappelletti is a newer style of wine compared to Campari and it has a sweeter taste than its predecessor, and unlike Campari, it’s wine-based. If you like vermouth you’re going to enjoy Aperitivo Cappelletti.
Although it is newer compared to Campari, it is the oldest style of bitter classic red wine in production.
Do You Need to Refrigerate Cappelletti?
You could refrigerate Cappelletti, but you can also drink it chilled, served over ice. However, it has a lighter alcohol content compared to gin, whiskey, and rum, so you need to refrigerate it after opening as it will still oxidize.
Try not to keep open bottles of Cappelletti in the fridge for too long as the flavors can still change even after a few weeks or a month. If you’re not having regular parties, then you might try purchasing smaller bottles.
Is Cappelletti the same as Aperol?
Cappelletti is often compared to aperol because they both have a citrusy flavor with a soft herbal scent. However, whereas Cappelletti is wine-based, aperol is a liquor that’s spirit-based with lower alcohol content.
Both are excellent pre-dinner drinks. Aperol is famous for the Aperol Spritz, which is made of prosecco (3-parts), aperol (2-parts), and soda water.
You can tell the difference between Cappelletti and aperol by the former’s deep red hue, on the other hand, Aperol has a bright orange color.
You can also distinguish the two with taste; Cappelletti has a distinctly bitter flavor than the citrusy sweet asperol.
What are Aromatized Wines?
Getting an understanding of the unique and delicious world of aromatized wines will develop your deeper appreciation for Cappelletti.
Aromatized wines don’t only refer to fragrant wines, but it refers to wines that have a unique smell that comes from the way they’re made and can affect the way in which they can be served.
These are usually wine flavors made with spices, flowers and fruits. These wines most commonly start off with the wine base and then transform the flavor by adding the ingredients or the winemaker’s chosen botanicals. The ingredients are steeped for several weeks before being filtered out.
There are four categories of aromatized wines that have historical importance to more classic drinks:
- Vermouth, the most famous of the bunch, focuses on the wormwood botanical. Wormwood has a eucalyptus and a weedy scent that registers intensely on the palate.
- Americano leans toward the botanical scents, thanks to the gentian root that has floral and earthy notes.
- Quinquina has a more tonic or medicinal scent and uses mostly red wines or fortified grape juice as a base.
- Vino Amaro is a wine-based amaro that uses herbal infusions that are popular with traditional wine drinkers around the world.
Although aromatized wine has been around for hundreds of years; it fell out of fashion. But as anything in fashion, this trend is coming back and more varieties have been produced, like the Cappelletti.
How to Serve Aromatized Wines
Aromatized wines are popularly used in some of the most classic cocktails. By adding a bit of Vermouth, to gin and Cappelletti, you can make a softer Negroni, a bitter yet elegant drink.
The flavor of aromatized wines is so versatile that they make a good pair with many alcoholic beverages. If you’re not into cocktails, these wines are also excellent on their own, just like a glass of Cappelletti served with ice and orange peel to garnish. You can mix them with soda or tonic if you want to change things up a bit.
Aromatized wines can be treated like other aperitifs. However, for wine lovers, they are more of a treat because they offer a wide range of fragrances and flavors.
How to Serve Cappelletti
Cappelleti is an ideal pre-meal drink as it’s wine-based and has just the right alcoholic content compared to other wines.
Here are a couple of easy recipes you can whip up with Cappelletti.
- Cappelletti Spritz
A classic drink with Cappelletti, prosecco and sparkling wine. This afternoon drink is easy to make and will leave you wanting more.
Just pour 30 ml of Cappelletti into a wine glass, and add 3 parts sparkling wine. Stir, then top off with an orange peel.
- Cappelletti and Gin with Basil
Another aperitivo drink, Cappelletti goes perfectly with gin as well. For this recipe, you’ll need a cocktail shaker.
Mix 30ml of gin, 30 ml of Cappelletti, 15 ml lemon juice, and 10ml simple syrup. Mix all the ingredients inside the shakes and then strain into a tall glass with ice. Add 60ml of soda, then garnish with basil leaves.