Welcome to Like A Virgin, a column in which we recommend a different zero-ABV drink each week. They’re not “near beers,” they’re not “mocktails”—they’re delicious beverages that anyone and everyone should try at least once. Got an idea for a future Like A Virgin column? Email us at email@example.com.
Aperitivi are delightfully bitter beverages meant to whet your appetite, best enjoyed lazily after work to get you excited for dinner. Personally I don’t need any help getting excited for dinner, which I normally begin fantasizing about first thing in the morning, so I’d never given much thought to adding an aperitivo to my evening routine. Once I got sober six years ago, I have gave it no thought at all. And then last week I received a bottle of a new non-alcoholic aperitivo by the name of Figlia, and now I begin thinking of aperitivi about 15 seconds before the clock hits quittin’ time.
Figlia is made for slowing down and sitting still, two things I am absolutely terrible at, so I am very grateful for this aperitivo’s assistance. It is not face-twistingly bitter like Campari or Aperol, which are more pleasurable in cocktails than straight out of the bottle, nor (obviously) does Figlia have the piercing sting of alcohol. Though Figlia’s bottle and website says it can be mixed with soda or used in cocktails, I wouldn’t dare. (Check out Lyre’s for that sort of non-alcoholic aperitivo action.) Figlia is perfect as it is, straight from the bottle into a highball glass with exactly three pieces of ice. (Two pieces looks pathetic, but four ice cubes would be utter madness.)
I’ve been pouring myself about two ounces every evening, which doesn’t sound like much, but I’ve found it to be just enough. All of the flavors in a serving of Figlia are familiar, but they’re so tightly intertwined, it’s impossible to unravel them unless you really concentrate. You could, of course, just look at the back of the bottle to discover there’s some rosemary and elderflower in there, along with a variety of herbs, roots, and rinds that bounce around your palate like a liquid pinball machine. But what would be the fun in that? The point is to pause and think. Sip it slowly. Tune out the noise. Figure it out on your own.
Another benefit to my two-ounce pour is that, like most carefully crafted non-alcoholic beverages made by small businesses, Figlia is not cheap, costing $43 for 750-mL bottle. (Or $39.42 with a monthly subscription.) That comes out to about 13 brief moments of silence after I shut my laptop down for the day, each costing me a little over three bucks. Coupled with the fact that I’m supporting a small, woman-owned business, I find Figlia to be well worth the occasional splurge. Keep that in mind if you have a very special sober person on your holiday gift list.