After Italian rock group Måneskin won last year’s contest in Rotterdam, Eurovision will be held in Italy, with 40 countries heading to Turin to take part.
And no matter which side of the music fence you sit on, there’s something about this starry extravaganza that makes you want to drink in the atmosphere – and bring something special to the party.
From the spectacular stage set – Pala Olimpico is cited as the largest indoor sporting arena in the country – to the outlandish, glitzy outfits, it’s bound to be epic (and that’s before you’ve even heard a single note).
“In Florence, the home of Amaro Santoni, we enjoy aperitivo with the negroni, which was invented in our city,” says Luca Missaglia, managing partner at the brand. “You can make it for your guests with one part Santoni, one part Italian red vermouth and one part gin.”
“To complete the aperitivo, you only need some delicious food for your guests,” says Missaglia. “And you can enjoy two classic European traditions together – aperitivo and Eurovision.”
Alternatively, this delicious herbal liqueur, Amaro Santoni (£26.95, 50cl, The Whisky Exchange), can be served in a classic spritz or simple Garibaldi – two parts Santoni, four parts blood orange juice.
Spritz is to Italy what Pimm’s is to England, and Hotel Starlino’s new Elderflower Aperitivo with its fragrant, heady scent and fresh, fruity, tropical nuances will switch up your outdoor space to a sunny terrazza.
For an Elderflower Spritz, simply mix 50ml Hotel Starlino Elderflower Aperitivo (£23.95, 75cl, Master of Malt) with 50ml sparkling wine and 50ml soda in a large wine glass, and garnish with a slice of lemon.
In addition to the spritz, Italians love their vermouth and Cocchi’s new expression celebrates Piedmont (northern Italy’s wine region) and Turin – which also happens to be the birthplace of Italian vermouth.
Easily one of the most celebratory aperitivos to chime with the evening, Jon Lister, head of creativity and drinks at Speciality Brands recommends the simplicity of Cocchi Vermouth di Torino Extra Dry (£18.95, 50cl, The Whisky Exchange) over ice.
“A super easy way to bring to life all the crisp, lime notes of the cortese grape – and provide guests with a new and refreshing drinking experience.
“Equally this new dry vermouth works really well as a highball serve, topped up with soda or tonic,” says Lister. “I’d recommend using elderflower tonic or Sekforde Lime, Mint and Cacao Soda (£1.50, Waitrose) which makes an epic combination.”
Perhaps it’s the simplicity of not having to faff about with a coffee machine for a shot of espresso, but a pre-mixed cocktail means you won’t risk the chance of missing out on a performance – namely Sam Ryder’s Space Man, and an espresso martini to settle those nerves.
“What better way to celebrate with friends at home than with a delicious bar-quality cocktail to transport you to sunnier climes?” says Andrew Hutchinson, co-founder of Kocktail.
“Arguably one of the most famous cocktails in the world, our award-winning Espresso Martini is made with Italy’s favourite Caffé Borghetti, which is still to this day made to the original recipe created in 1860.
“A beautiful drink that’s full of body, charm and a good amount of caffeine, it’s a popular party pleaser,” says Hutchinson. “Perfect if you’re hosting your very own Eurovision party.”
Serve Kocktail’s Espresso Martini (£25, 50cl, Kocktail) straight up in a chilled martini glass.
Meanwhile, no party would be complete without a glass of prosecco. A favourite crowd pleaser, Aldi’s Organic Prosecco Rosé, Italy (£8.49, Aldi) is right on point with its fragrant red berry fruits, gentle hints of acacia flowers and soft creamy mousse.
Now the only thing missing is the vino! Sustainable wine brand When in Rome have launched their first paper bottles made from 94% recycled paper – Mixed Selection Pack, 3 x Paper Bottle Multipack (£31.50 When in Rome).
The alternative format includes a pecorino (one of their best-selling bag-in-box whites) and rosato from the Abruzzo region on the coast, along with the newest addition to their line-up, a primitivo from Puglia.
And the label has a close affinity with the host city. “The Eurovision Song Contest final is taking place in Turin, which is actually where I lived in Italy and where the idea for When in Rome wine was born!” says Rob Malin, founder of the brand.
“I personally love a Eurovision party as it’s a great opportunity to get everyone together – and celebrate music from all over Europe. Besides, any excuse for a party with drinks and nibbles right?”
He says the pecorino will go nicely with some pecorino (cheese of the same name) crackers or slices of provolone cheese alongside a cured meat, such as classic Italian Genoa salami. While both the white and rosato pair well with seafood nibbles, ascolano olives and roasted vegetables, and “perhaps some miniature prawn cocktails in true kitsch Eurovision style,” adds Malin.
With food and wine such an integral part of Italian culture, adventurous drinkers and pleasure seekers might like to join Majestic’s Wine Club – and treat themselves to their Italian Spring Case, made up of 12 new and exclusive wines chosen by their master of wine.
With prices starting from £99 for the Discovery Case, the accompanying booklet shines the light on each label with tasting notes, information about the producer, the region, pairing suggestions, recipes and masses more. A brilliant line-up… much like the song contest, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
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