I have always loved the whole “aperitivo” concept. We had our own version of it in my family where we would sit down at 6pm on the weekend as a family for pre dinner drinks and nibbles (it was a happy day when I graduated from lemonade to a G&T!) But for a proper Italian “aperitivo” experience you really should be drinking something along the lines of an Aperol Spritz like I was when I visited the ST REGIS last week.
Originating from Venice, Aperol is best described as a more accessible cousin to Campari. Coming in at just 11% alcohol, it is made from herbs and botanicals including bitter orange, gentian, rhubarb and cinchona (a natural source of quinine making it perfect in these mosquito infected climes!) and can be enjoyed with soda, neat on the rocks or as a replacement for Campari in a Negroni (like at Opposite Mess Hall)
It is probably most famous in the form of the “Spritz” which is practically the official drink of Venice. The Spritz recipe is incredibly simple; 1/3 Aperol, 1/3 Prosecco and 1/3 soda water and it should be garnished with a slice of orange and traditionally also with a juicy green olive like they serve them at Russell Normans POLPO restaurant group in London https://beirutibrit.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/da-polpo-covent-garden-london-10/ one of my personal favourite places to drink them. But London is a bit far for even me to head for a drink so when I saw (via twitter) that the ST REGIS hotel was offering freeflow Aperol spritzes and tapas for just 495++ between 6-8pm daily, I knew I would have to go and check it out.
The Aperol promotion is available in JOJO, their groundfloor Italian restaurant which happily has a small bar area at the front, perfect for relaxing with a pre dinner drink or enjoying happy hour. You can actually order a few other drinks including Strawberry Mojitos and Cucumber Mist, a Tanqueray and elderflower based cocktail as well as Prosecco by the glass (although this is limited to one per person) and Singha Beer but it was the Spritzes I was there for afterall and I didn’t deviate from those.
The drinks are served with a daily changing selection of freeflow tapas, when I visited I was served olives, marinated mushrooms and eggplant as well as little polpetti (meatballs) some fried squid with aioli and a sort of cod brandade on toast. Special mention must go to the polpetti, they were really excellent, so much so I actually had to ask them to stop refilling my bowl each time I finished them as I was worried as to how may I would get through!
As you’d expect from the ST REGIS, service is slick and attentive and staff made polite chit chat with me whilst staying professional and alert, they came to do last orders bang on 8pm which I wasn’t expecting – a nice touch. I don’t spend too much time in places like the ST REGIS as sadly it would bankrupt me in about a week which is what makes this aperitivo promotion so nice. I can’t imagine there are many more civilized and sophisticated happy hours here in Bangkok and 495++ is simply unbeatable value. I would love to hear where your favourite freeflow deals and happy hour promotions are?