How I Aperitivo: Daniel Kutch

Oct 22, 2021Story: MARTINI & ROSSI® Art: Anthony Rayburn

Daniel Kutch began in the hospitality industry at an early age, hustling in both back- and front-of-house positions at pizza franchises in his native Bay Area. Eventually moving to San Francisco proper, Kutch found his sweet spot at venues that were as well-known for food as for drinks, which challenged him to take a more culinary approach to his drink-making. It was at these places that he also learned to thread the needle between an upscale experience and a warm, welcoming, neighborhood vibe.

It’s little surprise that Kutch has been drawn to the Italian style of drinking, so closely entwined with food and rooted in elevated conviviality. And in his current role based in New York as the East Coast brand ambassador for MARTINI & ROSSI, he gets to focus on his passion for aperitivo, the daily routine for Italians that is the pure embodiment of that gioia di vivere.

Kutch first fell in love with the pleasures of aperitivo culture at 21, while visiting Rome for the first time. At his hostel, he discovered Negronis being stirred up alongside a quintessential spread of charcuterie, olives and cheese. “The owners prided themselves on introducing a true aperitivo experience to their guests from around the world,” Kutch says. “Since I was traveling alone, I made friends at the bar quickly—and capped off my afternoon well, before walking the city some more.” He was hooked. These days, his classic aperitivo of choice is the Americano; he also loves working with vermouth and showcasing the ways it can star in the types of low-ABV cocktails ideal for aperitivo hour.

"I’m a big fan of bitter flavors but also low-ABV options. Italian cocktails and aperitivo seem to be made for my palate."

Here, Kutch tackles our Aperitivo Lookbook Questionnaire to share his ideal aperitivo hour snack pairing, the Italian locale he’s dreaming of visiting, and the weirdest cocktail experiment he’s ever tried.


Current occupation: East Coast Brand ambassador for MARTINI & ROSSI

Hometown: San Francisco

Current location: New York City

How do you define the aperitivo? That moment when you wind down from the work day and begin winding up your plans for the evening—with a bitter cocktail in one hand and a snack in the other.

What do you most like about the Italian approach to drinking? I’m a big fan of bitter flavors but also low-ABV options. Italian cocktails and aperitivo seem to be made for my palate.

How do you go about creating an aperitivo-style drink? Most important thing is don’t overthink things—often the most simple drinks make the best aperitivo. Pick a vermouth that suits the weather or the moment, and add some sparkling water or wine with ice.

Tell us about your drink: My drink is a low-ABV twist on a classic that takes the vermouth and makes the taste even more refreshing for a terrace, beach or backyard.

What’s your favorite aperitivo snack/pairing? 50/50 and olives

Weirdest cocktail experiment you’ve ever attempted: Horchata Milk Punch

What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not eating, drinking or drink-making? Playing or watching basketball, reading or cycling.

If you could travel to one place in Italy right now, where would it be and why? Palermo. I’ve always wanted to visit Sicily.

If you had to pick only one: Negroni, Spritz or Americano? Americano

Your favorite recipe featuring the MARTINI & ROSSI line:

Vermouth Smash
2 ounces MARTINI & ROSSI® Ambrato Vermouth
1/2 oz simple syrup
1/2 lemon, cut into wedges
4 to 6 mint leaves

In a cocktail tin, muddle simple syrup, lemon wedges and mint. Add vermouth, shake with ice and fine-strain into a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with mint sprig and lemon slice.

Why do you like this cocktail? What occasion(s) would you recommend serving it? I love this cocktail because it’s an approachable crowd-pleaser that can be easily replicated. It also showcases the vermouth outside of the more well-known stirred cocktails.


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