About Apéritifs

Apéritif comes from the Latin aperire, "to open." As a prelude to good food, an apéritif is a before dinner drink. An apéritif is meant to cleanse the palate, and whet your appetite for the sumptuous meal that awaits you. Cocktail hours are the relaxing turning point of the work day into dinner. What better way to unwind and enjoy than with a refreshing apéritif? 

Aperitifs can be wine, champagne, cocktails, a liqueur, such as Campari, or combinations of these. Bitters is often a key ingredient in an apéritif. Some say that beer is even a natural apéritif. Of course, having an idea of what the menu is going to be will probably sway your choice of apéritifs. 


Fortified wines are generally used for apéritifs. Dubonnet & Lillet are probably the most popular. They are best served on the rocks or chilled, garnished with an orange or lime wedge. Vermouth is more popular as an apéritif in Europe and can usually be ordered by the term, "dry". The lightest and driest of all Sherries, Finos are particular favorites for apéritifs when served well-chilled. 


Some sparkling wines and champagnes make perfect apéritifs. Korbel, Moet & Chandon, and Mumm's are popular champagne choices. For a festive occasion, try one of these Champagne Cocktails. 


Any light, refreshing cocktail is popular these days as an apéritif. Gin (or Vodka) and Tonic, as well as a Margarita are not filling and are popular cocktails. Of course, a Martini or a Manhattan are always number one choices. A true classic apéritif, that is often over-looked in my book is the Negroni. Below are a few more great classic apéritif cocktails.