The new tipple was crafted with the help of sister Kayla Grigoriou, who founded her own label, Needle & Pin Spirits, last year (she’s also the manager of cocktail den Bar Torino). “[Kayla] did a lot of the research, from a recipe point of view,” says Grigoriou. “It’s taken about 12 months from the initial idea.”
Organic and biodynamic skin-contact vermentino forms the base of the bright, citrusy drink. It’s then infused with Riverland orange and lemon peels, as well as traditional amaro botanicals (such as rhubarb and gentian root), before being fortified with a neutral grape spirit.
Naturally, it’s best served as a spritz: Grigoriou suggests pét-nat or prosecco, a little soda, and some fresh fruit. “It’s super fun,” he says. “Really easy drinking, and really approachable. But it’s also pretty versatile.” The drink can also be served in Negronis, or simply on the rocks after dinner (it works just as well as a digestivo).
Aperitivos, or pre-meal drinks, are new to Grigoriou’s repertoire. “It’s something that people love, but we wanted to do it our own way, and put our own spin on it,” he says. Like his Delinquente wines, it’s “something that’s local, honest, small-batch and handmade”.
Every ingredient is natural, down to the beetroot used for the colouring. “The colouring is a pretty simple process. We cook up and squeeze in some beetroot – there’s obviously a lot of colour in that,” says Grigoriou. “It’s a bit more time consuming than just pouring [artificial colouring] out of a bottle, but I think it speaks to the nature of the products we make, and the wines we make, and what we want to champion.”
Bizzarro Bitter Aperitivo will be available at independent bars and bottle shops from September 28.