10 Apéritifs You Should Know

Apéritifs, from the Latin aperiere “to open,” are served before the meal and are designed to stimulate the appetite and prepare the palate for the pleasure of the meal. They are typically lower in alcohol and are usually light, refreshing, and dry; sometimes they run more savory and bitter.

 

Banyuls

 

 

Fortified dessert wine, made in similar production method to Port. Typically red, however occasionally made from white varieties such as Grenache Blanc or Grenache Gris.

 

Dubonnet

 

 

A blend of fortified wine, herbs, and spices with red, white, and gold varieties. It is frequently used in citrus-based cocktails.

 

Kir

 

 

Common Southern France cocktail made with crème de cassis and white wine.

 

Lillet

 

 

Either red or white blend of Bordeaux varietals, made with citrus liqueurs and often containing quinine.

 

Muscat

 

 

 Sweet, fortified wine. Languedoc-Roussillon boasts a number of excellent Muscat wines.

 

Pastis and Pernod

 

 

Pernod, Ricard, and Pastis – anise based drinks that tend to be potent and assertive. Pastis is an anise-flavored liqueur that was commercially pioneered by Paul Ricard.

 

Pineau

 


 

A fortified wine, typically composed of Cognac eau-de-vie and fermented grape must. In some areas of France it’s made by combining brandy and apple juice.

 

Vermouth

 

 

Fortified wine flavored with various botanicals such as roots, bark, flowers, seeds, herbs, or spices. Noilly Prat, from Languedoc-Roussillon, is a dry vermouth, produced in Marseillan, a region south of Montpellier, that is often used in dry Martinis or Negronis.

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Ilona Thompson

Ilona Thompson is Editor-in-Chief at PalateXposure, a destination site for oenophiles, gourmands and luxury travelers. She also recently launched #Wine, a site dedicated to wines and spirits reviews, and #Photography, a site devoted to high-quality wine, food, and travel related photography.

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