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Food & Drink

Five before-dinner drinks to serve before a holiday feast

Meet the main meal’s opening lineup

By David Lawrason| Photography by Carlo Mendoza
Five before-dinner drinks to serve before a holiday feast
Photograph by Carlo Mendoza

Any before-dinner drink can be called an aperitif, but the classic European version is designed to charge the senses and ignite the appetite—critical before a monumental Thanksgiving meal—without being too powerful, filling or sweet. This selection of dry, energizing aperitifs should be enjoyed chilled for maximum refreshment.

Lustau Amontillado Los Arcos $15.35 | Spain | 91 points Los Arcos is a beautiful rendition of Amontillado sherry, with apricot and orange fruitiness, coffee-bean character and earthy aromas. Serve with apps and it’ll be the talk of the night. LCBO 375097

Campari $27.95 | Italy | no rating Campari’s rhubarb-and-ginseng character forms the backbone of classic cocktails such as the boulevardier and negroni, but its distinctively bitter flavour really primes the palate when mixed with a splash of soda water. LCBO 277954

Cave Spring Blanc de Blancs Brut $29.95 | Niagara Escarpment | 90 Points Celebrate local bounty with this fine chardonnay-based Niagara sparkler, with subtle orchard apple, shortbread and citrus flavours, and a nick of limestone for oyster-friendly minerality. LCBO 213983

Fonseca White Port $17.30 | Portugal | no rating Gin and tonics are ever-popular, but the mixed drink’s high-octane base spirit can smother the appetite. Throttle down to 20 per cent alcohol white port, blended with two parts tonic, loads of ice and a smack of lime or mint. LCBO 276816

Lillet Blanc $18.15 | France | 93 points The spicy, cedary French aperitif is lightly fortified, with orange-macerated brandy added to barrel-aged sauvignon blanc and semillon grapes. Serve it with an ice cube, or cut it with sparkling wine or a dab of gin. LCBO 322297

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