Apéritif wines are more than just beverages, they’re a custom long-practiced in Europe––and it only takes looking at a few bar menus to see that they’re catching on at an accelerating rate in America too. What makes a wine an apéritif is more a product of occasion, location, and the character of the food following the apéritif than the character of the wine itself. The best starting point for choosing one is with the definition of apéritif, a French word that evolved from the Latin verb aperture that means “to open.” As such, an apéritif (whether wine or not) is a drinkable appetizer meant to stimulate the appetite before a meal; it is the counterpart to the digestif that closes the meal. If you are having guests over, apéritifs are a perfect way to welcome them. So how do you choose the right apéritif? There aren’t really any rules other than choosing a beverage that’s enjoyable and intriguing to drink. Gin, fortified wines, liqueurs, cocktails and even beer qualify. That being said, apéritifs are typically light-bodied alcoholic beverages, and most-commonly a dry and bittersweet white wine. The Spanish and Italian favorite, Vermouth is by far the most prevalent apéritif wine in the world, but apéritifs can vary greatly by region. The Greeks love ouzo, the Germans Riesling, the Portuguese port, the French cognac or Champagne (especially in a kir royal). Americans are well-known to have used Chardonnay as our go-to apéritif wine, but we’ve begun to branch out to the fortified wines and herbal liqueurs that many Europeans have enjoyed for ages. So take your pick from our brands below. Then, relax and awaken your tastebuds.
HOW TO DRINK APERITIF WINE:
While an apéritif wine can be sipped as is, if it is a fortified wine you may want to enjoy it on the rocks or with a splash of soda and a peel of your favorite citrus fruit to tone down the bitter flavor. You can also make a wide variety of cocktails. Some of the most famous are the Martini, the Manhattan, and James Bonds’ favorite: the Vesper.
Vermouth / Aperitif Wine Stories
The Boozy Snow Cone Is Ruling the Summer of 2019
Kakigori is everywhere.
11 Frozen Cocktails to Try Right Now. With Recipes!
The drinks for good brain freeze.
Who’s Going to the 2019 Bartender of the Year Finals?
Meet the winners of the eight Heaven Hill Bartender of the Year regional competitions.
The 3 Drinks That Explain Why Super Lyan Is a New Bar That Matters
The latest from legend Ryan Chetiyawardana.
11 Delicious Cocktails to Set Off Your Fourth of July
Get patriotic, people.
Meet the Chef Who Makes the Cocktails He Wants to Drink
What happens when a chef runs the bar program.
How Bitter of a Cocktail Can You Handle?
Discover where you fall on the bitter cocktail spectrum.
11 Cocktails to Try for Memorial Day
11 Tequila and Mezcal Cocktails to Try Right Now
Recipes to make.
6 Things You Should Know About the Whiskey Sour
Simple. But complicated.
What Inspired the Bartenders in the USBG Legacy National Finals?
Get the story behind the eight cocktails that rose above the rest.
Mastering the Art of Tableside Cocktail Service
There’s a craft about it.
11 Essential Cocktails for Your May Parties
Spring is truly here!
11 Gin Cocktails to Drink in Bars Now
Where to visit.
11 Gin Cocktails to Try Right Now
It’s the right time of year. For the right kind of gin drink.
Don’t Take Your Campari for Granted. This Denver Bar Has to Make Every Bottle from Scratch.
Getting creative with essential ingredients.
9 Whiskey Cocktails to Drink in Bars Now
The drinks are out there.
11 Cocktails to Make on St. Patrick’s Day
Go ahead. Get lucky.
11 Great Whiskey Cocktails to Try Now
Whiskey month is here.
11 Essential Cocktails for Your March Parties
Spring. It’s around the corner.
Your Horoscope in Cocktails: March 2019
It’s time to listen up and find out what your zodiac sign has in store for you—at least in terms of cocktails.
Bartenders Recommend the Best Après-Ski Drinks in the World
Those who know. Telling you where to drink.
4 Handy Things Bartenders Can Learn from Airline Cocktail Programs