From the Latin aperire, meaning ‘to open’, an aperitif is any alcohol which excites your appetite before a meal. A staple of most European meals, aperitifs are light spirits with a clean, crisp taste. Anything too sweet, and your palate will be overwhelmed. Anything too strong, and your taste-buds will be sedated. An aperitif’s ideal ABV is between 16 and 25 percent. Though straight aperitifs come in all sorts of colours, aperitif cocktails are best mixed with white spirits. Save your harder, darker drinks for after dinner, and beforehand savour one of the following aperitifs straight:
The original aperitif, Campari is a complex, bitter classic with strong notes of orange and herb. Slowly sip a snifter before supper to prepare your palate, and splash in a little soda water if it’s too intense. If you like the sound of that before you start eating, snap up a bottle of Campari Bitter from our store.
Like a less intense version of absinthe, Pernod is an aromatic aperitif with a light licorice taste. Serve with one part Pernod to four parts ice water to make your palate meal-ready, and prior to that you can purchase our Pernod.
As a straight aperitif for heavier meals, Lillet Rouge gives a complex, fruity red wine flavour light enough to preserve your palate. Serve chilled with a slice of orange to really enhance your appetite, and add it to your collection by clicking this link to our Lillet Rouge.
If you’d rather shake things up than keep them straight, these are a few of our favourite aperitif cocktails:
In a glass with ice, add an orange wedge, three parts Prosecco (or a similar sparkling white wine), two parts Aperol and one part soda water. Acquire a bottle of Aperol through us.
Fill an old-fashioned glass with ice, then add Campari and Vermouth in equal parts. Top with club soda, then garnish with a lemon peel or an orange slice for an appetising aperitif. If an Americano sounds appealing, search our wide variety of Vermouth.
One of the most simple aperitif cocktails to concoct, stir three parts gin to one one part lime juice. Add a splash of soda and top with a lime garnish to gear you up for a great meal.
To find out what to drink after you’ve finished dinner, dive into our blog-post on digestifs (needs link to published piece).