Art of Italicus – Aperitivo Chiaroscuro

Another competition with a drink leaning toward a more artistic side this time.

The Apertivo Chiaroscuro was made to be reminiscent of the painting movement that made light shine through obsucrity and shadows in the painting and the other way round.

Philosopher in Meditation, 1632 - Rembrandt
Philosopher in Meditation by Rembrandt source:


Made around the Italicus Rosario, a liqueur with dominant notes of bergamot, we designed an aperitivo with strength and softness, built around italian products.

First the Italicus, of course, to which we’re going to give some support with grappa, preferably Nonino Muscovato who, with hints of lemon and ginger, nicely complete the liqueur.

Then enters our homemade ingredient, an infusion of ginger and carvi whose spicyness will bounce nicely on the floral notes of the Italicus.

To make it, I used 2g of carvi for 250ml of water in which I muddled 3 slices (15g) of ginger. Let it sit for an hour and then filter it to get rid of the carvi powder and little ginger bits that could get into the drink.

And that’s it. Simple drink to make but with lot of flavor :

  • Italicus Rosario : 40ml
  • Carvi infusion : 30ml
  • Grappa Nonino : 20ml


To accompany it, we decided on a grilled aubergine garnish, along with a salt-sprinkled focaccia.

For the aubergines:

  • 100g cubed aubergines
  • 30g olive oil
  • 20g balsamic vinegar
  • rosemary
  • powdered garlic
  • carvi
  • salt, peper

Heat the oil in a pan and grill the aubergines until they get a nice colour. Add the spices and the balsamic vinegar just before the end, to keep the flavours fresh.

For the focaccia:

  • 350g flour
  • 10g salt
  • 10g sugar
  • 10g instant yeast
  • 200ml water
  • fleur de sel
  • rosemary

Mix the flour, salt and sugar. Add instant yeast and water and knead into a smooth dough. Place into a well oiled bowl, cover and let rest in a warm place for 1 hour. Knead again to let out some air, let rest another 20 min. Roll it into a rectangle and press with your fingers to create the small holes. Let rest for the final 20 min, while your oven preheats to 200°C. Before baking, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with fleur de sel and rosemary.

The three make a perfect balance between sweet and salty, between the complexity of the cocktail and the simplicity of the bread… It’s aperitivo time!

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