Top 20 Best High-End Apéritif Brands and Producers
APÉRITIFS and digestifs are drinks, typically alcoholic, that are normally served before (apéritif) or after (digestif) a meal.
An apéritif is an alcoholic beverage usually served before a meal to stimulate the appetite, and is therefore usually dry rather than sweet. Common choices for an apéritif are vermouth; champagne; pastis; gin; arak; rak?; fino, amontillado or other styles of dry sherry (but not usually cream or oloroso blended sherry, which is very sweet and rich); and any still, dry, light white wine.
An apéritif may be served with an hors d'oeuvre or amuse-bouche, such as crackers, cheese, pâté, quiche or olives.
There is no single alcoholic drink that is always served as an apéritif. Fortified wine, liqueur, and dry champagne are probably the most common choices. Because it is served before dining, the emphasis is usually on dry rather than sweet, as a general guideline.
A digestif is an alcoholic beverage served after a meal, to aid digestion. When served after a coffee course, it may be called pousse-café. Digestifs are usually taken neat.
Apéritif News, Reviews & Resources
- APÉRITIF - alcoholic beverage usually served before a meal to stimulate the appetite, and is therefore usually dry rather than sweet.
- Do you drink Dubonnet? The Queen does - "This ‘old lady’ apertif packs a punch and is perfect for toasting the Diamond Jubilee."
- JÄgermeister logo does not offend Christians, Swiss court rules - "The logo for Jägermeister alcohol is not religiously offensive, a Swiss court has ruled."
- Pastis - anise-flavoured spirit and apéritif from France, typically containing less than 100 g/l sugar and 40–45% ABV (alcohol by volume).
- Queen Elizabeth II has carried on the tradition of drinking her late mother's preferred aperitif, Dubonnet & gin - "Queen Elizabeth II has carried on the tradition of drinking her late mother's preferred aperitif, Dubonnet and gin. Her Majesty enjoys a 2:1 ratio of Dubonnet to gin, for a lower-alcohol serve. The aromatic French aperitif has become so significant to the Royal Family that it was awarded a Royal Warrant in 2021."
- The Ideal Aperitif: Good Vermouth, Cool & Fragrant - The New York Times.
- The ApÉritif Culture Is Making A Comeback - Forbes.
- There’s a Reason You’re Drinking So Much Aperol Spritz - "It’s officially the drink of the summer, thanks to an aggressive marketing campaign by Campari."
- This New Dubonnet Isn’t the Queen’s, but It’s Improved - The New York Times.
- Vermouth - aromatized, fortified wine flavored with various botanicals (roots, barks, flowers, seeds, herbs, and spices).
Top 20 High-End Apéritif Brands
- AMBASSADEUR - created in 1936 by Pierre Pourchet, is drunk straight, with a little lemon or orange zest.
- Aperol - since 1919. Italian apéritif made of bitter orange, gentian, rhubarb, and cinchona among other ingredients.
- BARTISSOL - since 1904. "A protected designation of aperitif from Bartissol, made with sweet French wine, and various other ingredients. This is best served over ice with a slice of orange or lemon. This is a rare 1950s bottling."
- BYRRH - aromatised wine-based apéritif made of red wine, mistelle, and quinine. Created in 1866 & a trademark since 1873, it was popular as a French apéritif.
- Calvados - often nicknamed Calva, is a brandy from Normandy in France, made from apples or, sometimes, from apples with pears. Popular apéritif in the Normandy region of France.
- CAMPARI - invented in 1860. Alcoholic liqueur, considered an apéritif (20.5%, 21%, 24%, 25%, or 28.5% ABV, depending on the country in which it is sold), obtained from the infusion of herbs and fruit (including chinotto and cascarilla) in alcohol and water. It is a bitters, characterised by its dark red colour. Often used in cocktails and is commonly served with soda water, wine, or citrus juice.
- CrÉmant d'Alsace - since 1900. Is an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée for sparkling wines made in the Alsace wine region of France. Crémant d'Alsace is usually made of some blend among pinot blanc, pinot gris, pinot noir, riesling, auxerrois and chardonnay. Crémant d'Alsace rosé, while rare, is made of pinot noir. The method of production is identical with that of champagne. Used as a popular apéritif in the eastern region of France.
- Crodino - non-alcoholic bitter aperitif, produced since 1964. It is an orange colored drink made of herbal extracts and sugar, and it is sold in 10 cl (6 oz) bottles.
- CYNAR - since 1952. Italian bitter liqueur of the amaro variety. It is made from 13 herbs and plants, predominant amongst which is the artichoke (Cynara scolymus), from which the drink derives its name. Cynar is dark brown in color, has a bittersweet flavor, and its strength is 16.5% ABV.Cynar is an apéritif (low sugar, low alcohol, meant to stimulate appetite), and can be consumed by itself, or in a number of cocktails.
- Dubonnet - since 1846. Sweet, aromatised wine-based apéritif with 15% alcohol by volume. It is a blend of fortified wine, herbs, and spices (including a small amount of quinine), with fermentation being stopped by the addition of alcohol.
- Haus - "The word 'apéritif' comes from french 'to open,' and it literally means to open your evening. We designed Haus to be the American version more natural flavors, same easy vibe. With 15%#37; alcohol by volume (about a third of whiskey, gin or tequila) it’s enough for a hangout, without getting hungover."
- JÄGERMEISTER - since 1935. German 70-proof (35% abv) digestif made with 56 different herbs and spices.
- KINA LILLET - used with James Bond's Vesper Martini. brand of French aperitif wine. It is a blend of 85% Bordeaux wines (Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle for the Blanc; Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon for the Rouge) and 15% macerated liqueurs, mostly citrus liqueurs from the peels of sweet oranges from Spain and Morocco and the peels of bitter green oranges from Haiti.
- Kir - also called Blanc-cassis, is a common and very popular apéritif-cocktail made with a measure of crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) topped up with white wine like bourgogne aligoté. The word Kir Royal is used when white wine is replaced with a Champagne wine.
- LILLET - since 1872.
- MARTINI - since 1863.
- Noilly Prat - since 1855. Brand of vermouth from France.
- PASTISE 51 - since 1932. Anise-flavoured spirit and apéritif from France, typically containing less than 100 g/l sugar and 40–45% ABV. Pastis is a popular apéritif in the south of France.
- Pernod Ricard - since 1975. French company best known for its anise-flavoured pastis apéritifs Pernod Anise and Ricard Pastis.
- SUZE - Swiss brand of bitters flavoured with the roots of the plant gentian, normally drunk as an apéritif.
- Unicum - Hungarian herbal liqueur or bitters, drunk as a digestif and apéritif.