Aperitifs and Digestifs: A Beginner’s Guide

by | Dec 2019

A bottle of liquor from Tattersall Distilling sits on a bar cart with an aperitif.

Photo: Rachel Nadeau

Tune up your knowledge on aperitifs and digestifs.

An aperitif, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is “an alcoholic drink taken before a meal as an appetizer.” Its counterpart, the digestif, is meant to do just the opposite: aid in digestion after a meal.

Aperitifs: Get the Party Started

Classic Manhattan

  • 2 oz. Windsor Canadian whiskey or Christian Brothers brandy
  • 1 oz. Drapò vermouth
  • Dash of Wisconsin’s Bittercube Trinity bitters
  • 1 Maraschino cherry

Add the ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice, and stir gently. Strain into a glass, and garnish with an orange twist. Feel free to add a bit of the cherry juice, as well.


  • 1 part Norseman barrel-aged gin
  • 1 part Campari
  • 1 part Drapò dry vermouth

Stir ingredients, and pour over ice. Garnish with an orange peel.

Prosecco Cocktail
Fill the bottom of a wine glass with 1/2 oz. Gioia Luisa limoncello. Fill with a great prosecco, and add a slice of lemon.


  • 1 part Vizón blanco tequila
  • 3 parts grapefruit soda, like Squirt
  • Serve over ice in a small lowball glass.
Digestifs: A Perfect Ending

The world’s most famous brandy, coming from the Charentais in western France and takes its name from the historic town of Cognac, the long-standing epicenter of brandy production. Try Remy Martin VS, Hennessy VSOP or Camus VS.

A fortified wine capable of improving with age. Try Taylor-Fladgate 10 year Tawny, Quinta do Noval Vintage, Warre’s Vintage or Croft Vintage.

Sipping or taking a shot of aquavit are the two traditional means of consumption, but with 42-45 percent alcohol, mixing it may be more enjoyable. Try Skaalvenn.

Ranges from very dry to very sweet. Favorites include Lustau Pedro Ximenez (PX; sweet), Osborne Amontillado (middle of the road) and Harvey’s Bristol Cream/Dry Sack Sherry.

2225 Curve Creast Blvd., Stillwater
Facebook: Haskell’s Wine & Spirits
Instagram: @thewinepeople
Twitter: @TheWinePeople


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