Alternate meaning: Aperitif (record label)

An apéritif is an alcoholic drink usually enjoyed as an appetiser before a large meal. It is often served with something small to eat, like olives or biscuits.

The word comes from the Latin verb aperire, which means to open, because an apéritif indeed opens the meal.


Apéritifs first became truly popular in the late 19th century, in Europe. By 1900, having an apéritif before a meal was very common in the United States, too.

However, there is no definite origin of the apéritif, with some saying that the concept of drinking a small amount of alcohol before a meal dates back to Ancient Egyptian times.

Types of apéritif

There is no one particular type of alcohol that is always used for apéritifs, though liqueurs are common.

One of the most common apéritifs is sherry.

The particular type varies from region to region: for example, in Greece, ouzo is a common apéritif, while in the United States, it would be rare to have ouzo as an apéritif.

In the Czech Republic a common type of apéritif is Becherovka especially in the spa town of Karlovy Vary.

In southern France a common apéritif is Pastis which is another Anise-based drink, with commonly found brands in France being Ricard, Pernod and Pastis 51. The French typically drink it diluted 1:5 with water in a tall glass as a refreshing drink. The water may be added by drizzling it into the glass through a slotted Absinthe spoon, on which one or more cubes of sugar are placed as part of the infusion. A notable feature of this drink is that it turns from a sombre yellow to opaque white when water is added. This is distinct from but closely related to Absinthe, which is a much more alcoholic beverage containing a wider array of botanical extracts.

Also popular "aperos" are any array of bitter drinks such as Campari, Suze, and Cinzano.

The French also serve a digestif after meals, which is usually a strong spirit or liqueur. However this practice is in some decline in France due to increasing enforcement of breath-testing road blocks as part of their drunk-driving fr:Apéritif


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