April 28, 2016 34

The Aperitivo with Strawberry + Chamomile

The Aperitivo with Strawberry + Chamomile | @withfoodandlove

You guys, I’m doing a thing.

It’s been something I’ve had my heart set on for a while, but hadn’t really had the resources to let it live. Until now.

First though, let’s start at the beginning. My opinion of St. Louis had to have evolved gradually. But it certainly seemed to have changed drastically overnight. I don’t remember an exact moment in time when it happened. Just one morning I woke up and was like, oh I love it here. I don’t ever want to leave. In one calendar year I went from a reluctant and begrudgingly new Midwesterner to a full-on proud St. Louisan.

I’ve fallen completely in love with every aspect of living in St. Louis. The things that once left me underwhelmed now leave me full and satisfied. Most notably the burgeoning food scene and the beautiful people that make this city vibrant and alive. And for the past year there have been many real conversations in my home about me opening up my own restaurant. But because the length of our stay here is unknown, this seems out of the question. At least for now.

With this blog, I’m living the dream. I love my job. Yet I still have a burning desire to do more. Something more tangible outside of this space. I want to cook for people in real life. I want to foster an affordable, unique dining experience that everyone can enjoy.  So with restaurant dreams on hold, I’m launching a pop-up event series! Every six weeks or so a new event/menu/concept will emerge. I’ll be doing the cooking and the serving. And you’ll be doing the eating, drinking, mingling and relaxing. All events will be plant-focused, featuring local Midwestern produce and goods. My first event is titled Late Spring. An intimate, plated dinner, underneath the stars, complete with hand-crafted cocktails and a fire pit.

Tickets are on sale now! For more details, click here.

p.s. If you have an idea for a pop-up or a venue or you’re a purveyor and you’d like to include your goods at my next event, send me a message. I’d love to collaborate!

The Aperitivo with Strawberry + Chamomile | @withfoodandlove

The Aperitivo with Strawberry + Chamomile | @withfoodandlove

The Aperitivo with Strawberry + Chamomile | @withfoodandlove

Chamomile Simple Syrup | @withfoodandlove

Late Spring will kick off with The Aperitivo cocktail in hand. The word aperitivo originates from the Latin verb aperire. Meaning ‘to open’. Aperitivos are alcoholic beverages consumed before a meal with the intention of stimulating the appetite. My favorite aperitivo {and currently my drink of choice} is the Negroni. A classic cocktail consisting of gin, campari, sweet vermouth and an orange twist. This recipe is negroni inspired, infused with a strawberry shrub and chamomile simple syrup. Also infused with lots of local St. Louis love.

The honey used in this recipe comes from SeedGeeks, a husband and wife team with an organic/heirloom/non-GMO seed company down the street from me. They’re also beekeepers and last spring they rescued a swarm of bees that happened upon my yard. So technically I helped in making this honey, but not really because I didn’t do any work. It still feels extra special though.

The tea used in this recipe comes from ReTrailer Tea, and if you follow me on Instagram you probably already know how much I love this stuff. Lisa’s teas are hand-blended from the freshest, ethically sourced tea in the world. And honestly every variety of tea in her shop is the best tea I’ve ever had. And I really mean that. This particular blend of chamomile is infused with spearmint, jasmine, lemongrass and love. No worries if you don’t live in STL, you can purchase ReTrailer Tea online here. Stay tuned for a fun collaboration and giveaway from ReTrailer in the next few weeks!

If you live in the St. Louis area I hope to see you at an upcoming pop-up event of mine soon. All the love, all the time! xx

Chamomile Simple Syrup | @withfoodandlove

Strawberry Shrub | @withfoodandlove

The Aperitivo with Strawberry + Chamomile | @withfoodandlove

Strawberry Shrub

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Serves 1½ cups

Shrubs make for great drinks on their own. Pour an ounce or two of shrub over ice and top with club soda. This shrub is honey sweetened. To make it truly vegan substitute the honey with agave, maple syrup or cane sugar. This will keep for a minimum of 7 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 2 cups strawberries, diced
  • 1/2 cup local raw honey
  • 1 cup raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar


  1. In a small sauce pan, bring the water and strawberries to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and let cool for about 5 minutes. Add in the honey and stir to dissolve. Then add in the apple cider vinegar. Stir again to combine well.
  3. Strain the strawberries from the liquid and discard.
  4. Cool completely before use.

Chamomile Simple Syrup

Prep Time 1 min
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 6 mins
Serves 1 cup

This syrup is honey sweetened. To make it truly vegan substitute the honey with agave or cane sugar. This will keep for a minimum of 7 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons loose chamomile tea
  • 1/2 cup raw local honey


  1. In a small sauce pan, bring the water and chamomile to a gentle boil. Turn the heat off completely and steep for 5 minutes.
  2. Let the tea cool for about 5 minutes, then strain the tea leaves and discard.
  3. Add in the honey and stir to dissolve.
  4. Cool completely before use.

The Aperitivo

Prep Time 1 min
Cook Time 1 min
Total Time 2 mins
Serves 1

For a virgin aperitivo option, omit the gin and campari. Shake the shrub with the chamomile syrup together and top with sparkling water.


  • 1 ounce gin
  • 1 ounce strawberry shrub
  • 1/2 ounce campari
  • 1/2 ounce chamomile simple syrup
  • chamomile flowers, optional garnish


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour in all of the ingredients. Shake until frothy, and strain into a martini glass.
  2. Top with an edible chamomile flower if desired.
  3. Enjoy responsibly!

This post is in partnership with Seedgeeks + Retrailer Tea. Thanks for supplying the tea and honey you guys; all opinions are my own.

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34 Responses to "The Aperitivo with Strawberry + Chamomile"

  1. Reply

    Shelley Ludman

    April 28, 2016 at 9:27 PM

    This is super exciting! Such a fabulous idea to host pop-up dinners. I’m certain they will be absolutely fantastic. And these cocktails! Wowza. Love the flavour combination, and that colour! Stunning Sherrie!

    • Reply


      June 14, 2016 at 10:40 PM

      Thanks Shelly, xx!

  2. Reply

    amanda paa

    April 28, 2016 at 10:32 PM

    i have absolutely loved watching your transformation into a happy midwestern gal. i didn’t ever want to say, hey, you’ll get used to it because we’re all so different. but i think you’ve found some of the very same things that keep me here. even as i travel, i can’t see myself permanently in any other place.

    your pop-ups are going to be magical. what a wonderful thing to cook for people in real life, and bring your nourishing and beautiful food right to them, and their hearts. xo

  3. Reply

    Tessa | Salted Plains

    April 29, 2016 at 9:10 AM

    Yay! It makes me so happy to hear how much you’ve grown to love STL. After living elsewhere for so long, I am so proud of how KC has evolved. Now, to get you over here to see which place you like best. ;) Ha.

    Swooning over these cocktails and hoping you might have a summer event I can attend! xo.

    • Reply


      June 14, 2016 at 10:41 PM

      We really do need to meet up soon! Fall?

  4. Reply

    Sara @ Cake Over Steak

    April 29, 2016 at 9:24 AM

    This is so cool!!!! Good for you, lady. I wish I could attend one of these events in person; they sound fantastic. Good luck with all of it and I can’t wait to hear more!! Any chance you’ll visit Philly for a special one?? ;-) eh???

    • Reply


      June 14, 2016 at 10:42 PM

      Sara! A pop-up in Philly would be the coolest!

  5. Reply

    Michelle @ Hummingbird High

    April 29, 2016 at 9:56 AM

    Congratulations!!! Your pop-up sounds (and is going to be) incredible!

    • Reply


      June 14, 2016 at 10:43 PM

      Thanks, sweet lady! xx

  6. Reply


    April 29, 2016 at 10:00 AM

    Nice!!! Pop up dinners…what a fabulous idea Sherrie. What a great way to fullfil your passion for entertaining and love for what you do and to share it with others. I have to plan a trip to visit when you are having a pop up dinner. Excited to hear more and future dates so I can attend one of these. So proud of you. Love Mom. Xo

    • Reply


      June 14, 2016 at 10:43 PM

      Thanks Mom, I love you.

  7. Reply


    April 29, 2016 at 10:44 AM

    Congrats on the pop-ups! Sounds like so much fun. My husband and I are planning a trip to St. Louis this summer to see his parents. Would love to make our trip coincide with one of your dinners! Any chance you have future dates set?

    • Reply


      June 14, 2016 at 10:44 PM

      Olaiya! That would be so cool for you to make it to one. I’ve added a pop-up tab so you can keep an eye on all my upcoming events.

  8. Reply


    April 29, 2016 at 11:13 AM

    This is so exciting, Sherrie! Congratulations and wishing you so much luck! This cocktail is a stunner!

  9. Reply


    April 29, 2016 at 11:15 AM

    Ahhh! Yay! Your pop-up dinner sounds amazing. Good luck with your first one, I’m sure you’ll kill it, especially since it’s starting with this gorgeous drink. Also as a former Chicago-an I’m really glad you’re enjoying your time in the midwest <3

    • Reply


      June 14, 2016 at 10:45 PM

      Thanks Summer. It’s not so bad here after all, xx.

  10. Reply


    April 29, 2016 at 12:32 PM

    Love what you are doing. It is heart-felt, luscious, and soul-full. Your love is shining! Congratulations!

  11. Reply

    Jessie Snyder | Faring Well

    April 29, 2016 at 2:14 PM

    What a wonderful idea Sherrie! I love this and am so excited for you. You are a wealth of talent and have the sweetest heart. Wish I could attend! Maybe one day. Have a gorgeous weekend girl! xoxo

    • Reply


      June 14, 2016 at 10:46 PM

      Aww thanks Jessie. Maybe one day you totally can indeed! xx

  12. Reply

    Aida Mollenkamp

    April 29, 2016 at 2:52 PM

    Congrats on the pop-ups, Sherrie! And, this drink! Ah, you always win me over with your creativity!

    • Reply


      June 14, 2016 at 10:46 PM

      Aw, thanks Aida – too kind!

  13. Reply


    April 29, 2016 at 9:05 PM

    Yes! Come to Central NY – we need something like this! Of course, you are my fav’ food artist and I love, love, love what you are showing for this dinner! :) (Guess who?)

  14. Reply


    May 2, 2016 at 2:34 PM

    AHHH!!! Huge congrats on this exciting series! Wish I could attend IRL but will be stalking the socials to live vicariously through all the beautiful photos I’m sure you’ll be snapping! Also, this aperitivo = my everything.

    • Reply


      June 14, 2016 at 10:48 PM

      Hahaha, thanks Alana. Stalking approved ;)

  15. Reply

    Shelly @ Vegetarian 'Ventures

    May 3, 2016 at 1:49 PM

    So excited for you and what you have planned next! Can’t wait to hear more about how the pop-up goes!

  16. Reply


    May 3, 2016 at 2:38 PM

    Sherrie! I am SO excited for you. You are such an incredibly talented woman! The only bummer is that I wish I lived closer to you, because I would attend everyone one of those dinners that you’ll be hosting. This cocktail is perfection. Congrats again lovely! xoxo

    • Reply


      June 14, 2016 at 10:47 PM

      I should take this show on the road. PNW? ;)

  17. Reply


    May 4, 2016 at 8:42 PM

    congrats sherrie! so happy for you. this is such a great idea-i just checked out your menu and it sounds amazing! excited to follow along but jealous we can’t enjoy some of your delicious eats! much love xoxoxo

    • Reply


      June 14, 2016 at 10:48 PM

      Sarah, I miss you!

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With Food + Love © 2018 | All photos + words belong to Sherrie Castellano -- they cannot be used or distributed without permission.