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An aperitif is a drink taken before meal with the intention of stimulating the


First recorded in English in the late nineteenth century, aperitif derives through
French from the Latin ‘aperire’meaning ‘opening the appetite up’, the idea being
that the drink ‘opens’ the stomach, thereby stimulating the appetite.

‘Aperitivo’ in Italy, ‘aperitif’ in France, before dinner drink in the United States
– the sense is the same, a drink that stimulates the appetite and open the door to
the meal that follows.

A drink that is usually dry (not sweet), sometimes tart, even slightly bitter, fresh
with a cleansing taste and always served cold.
In many ways, wine is the prefect aperitif, simple, elegant, low in alcohol and
easy to serve.

During Romans, honey and grape syrup appear in virtually every one. Wine and
honey were mixed to make a sweet aperitif, mulsum, that was served at the
beginning of the meal.

Mulsum, wine sweetened with honey was a typical aperitif, served before or
alongside the first course of an evening meal, and freshly mixed for the
What types of alcoholic beverages are used as apéritifs?
There is no one particular drink served as an aperitif and they vary
by region and cuisine. However, they generally have a few
consistent characteristics: they are generally lighter in body, fresh,
lively and often served cool. Therefore they are refreshing, not too
serious or ponderous and enliven your palate. There are exceptions
to this rule. You can serve whatever you like to drink or you think
your guests would like. But typically the apéritif is an introduction
wine, not a drink you will continue to drink the whole night.
An aperitif can be a great start to your outdoor cooking party.
Especially on a warm summer afternoon or evening, a cool
beverage is refreshing and very pleasant to sip on.
Here are some examples of drinks often served as apéritif:
Sherry - Sherry is a fortified wine generally made in Jerez, Spain. The lighter styles of Sherry, like Fino, Manzanilla or
even Amontillado, are refreshing yet savory and definitely wake up that tired palate!
Sparkling wine or Champagne - Champagne is a classic apéritif and it is definitely a way to add a sense of excitement
and celebration to your dinner party. Sparkling wines also tend to be a great food and wine pairing with a variety of
dishes, especially appetizers. While real Champagne (from the Champagne region in France) can get very expensive,
there are many less expensive options for sparkling wines. I love Prosecco from Italy, a sparkling wine made in a lighter
style which is very refreshing and fun to drink. Other options are Spanish Cava, sparkling Vouvray or California
sparkling wines.
Light-bodied white wines - Lighter, crisp white wines, served cool, make an excellent aperitif. Wines like Sauvignon
blanc, white Bordeaux, Chablis, Pouilly-Fumé, Sancerre, Muscadet, Vouvray or German Riesling Kabinetts are great
Rosé wine - A rosé wine is one which has some red color to it, darker than a white and less dark than a red wine. They
are generally relatively simple but very refreshing and fruity when served slightly chilled. In the south of France, this is a
very common aperitif, especially on a hot summer afternoon or evening. It is joyous and fun and a great match to many
finger food appetizers. I definitely recommend a rosé for a food and wine pairing