Best Aperitifs To Try

Best aperitifs and digestifs to try

We’re familiar with the charms of Aperol, Campari and Fernet Branca but there are plenty more aperitifs and digestifs to explore. From bitter Italian numbers to British liqueurs, here are some of our favourites

Looking for a new aperitif to try? Want an alternative to the Aperol spritz? Aperitifs are traditionally drunk before a meal, and usually have dry or bitter flavours designed to stimulate your appetite. Classic aperitifs include dry vermouth and white wine, fizz and bitter drinks such as Campari. Cocktails including martinis, G&Ts, spritzes and negronis are also great pre-dinner tipples.

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Digestifs are drunk to aid digestion after a meal, usually neat or with ice. Unlike aperitifs, they tend to be sweeter, with a higher ABV, and range from brandy, port, sherry and liqueurs to bitter, herbal amaros such as Averna and Fernet Branca.

Feel free, however, to play around with these categories. For example, a sweet liqueur could work well mixed with tonic or sparkling water as an aperitif, while drinks such as earthy Cynar work equally well in a pre-dinner spritz as they do sipped neat after a rich supper.

Want to really impress fellow cocktail lovers? Recreate your favourite bar at home with our best drinks trolley ideas.


Best aperitifs and digestifs to try

Thistly Cross Traditional Cider Liqueur, £28.75/50cl, thistlycrosscider.co.uk

Scottish cider makers Thistly Cross have created a rich, warming liqueur with juicy apple flavours, gentle acidity and warming, subtly spicy undertones. Drink neat over ice after dinner, mix with ginger beer or try using in sour cocktails.

thistly

El Bandarra Al Fresco Aperitif, £20/1L, Waitrose

Spanish vermouth brand El Bandarra also make this zesty aperitif, using Spanish grenache infused with Med botanicals. Refreshing and assertively bittersweet, with grapefruit and floral notes, try in an Americano cocktail.

bandarra

Campari Soda, £9.95/pack of 5, The Whisky Exchange

Campari have released an RTD version of their classic aperitivo. There are no surprises here, just a perfectly mixed Campari and soda (in winningly dinky glass bottles), designed to be served over ice with a wedge of orange.

campari

Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto, £29.40/70cl, Master of Malt

This delicate Italian aperitif makes a great addition to your drinks trolley. Ingredients such as bergamot peel, aromatic cedro lemons and lavender give a citrussy and floral edge as well as a long finish to cocktails. Combine with prosecco and a couple of olives for a refreshing summer spritz or serve with tonic.

Italicus APeritif Bottle

Cynar, £13.95/70cl, The Whisky Exchange

This classic bitter Italian aperitif is flavoured with artichokes, but don’t let that put you off. The end result is sultry, earthy and subtly vegetal. It works brilliantly in a spritz, swap it for Campari in a negroni or drink neat over ice.

Cynar Bottle

Aperitivo Select, £16.75/70cl, The Whisky Exchange

Spritz like the Venetians do with this rich, bittersweet aperitif. The combination of bitter rhubarb, vibrant strawberry flavour and fresh juniper berries creates a complex drink with a fresh, citrussy finish. Just pour three parts prosecco and a splash of soda water over two parts Select in a glass with ice, and garnish with a green olive for the perfect Italian summer serve.
Select Spritz and bottle of Select with a bowl of green olives

Pampelle Ruby L’Apero, £28.50/70cl, Fortnum & Mason

Corsican ruby red grapefruit steals the limelight in this bitter-sweet Italian aperitif. Combined with citrus peels (floral yuzu, fragrant cedrat and bitter Haitian oranges), eau de vie and natural botanicals, it makes a wonderfully tart and aromatic alternative to Campari in spritzes and negronis. Mix with prosecco and a slice of ruby red grapefruit for a refreshing spritz.

Pampelle Aperitif Bottle

Kamm & Sons British Aperitif, £30.75/70cl, The Whisky Exchange

This botanical spirit has 45 ingredients, including ginseng, grapefruit, manuka honey and juniper. Expect earthy, herbal notes, citrussy bitterness, aniseed and a long finish. Drink neat with ice as a digestif or lengthen with soda water for a low-ABV spritz. 

Kamm and Sons Bottle

Escubac, £27.25/70cl, Master of Malt

Distilled with the likes of caraway, cardamom, nutmeg, citrus, raisins, vanilla and saffron, this Scottish spirit is spicy and warming. Mix with tonic for an intriguing alternative to a G&T, or drink neat as a digestif.

6 Aperitifs To Try

Sacred Rosehip Cup Liqueur, £26.95/75cl, Amazon

Made with rosehips, rhubarb, orange and ginger, this has a restrained bitterness and earthiness, and sweet fruitiness. Try mixing with sweet vermouth and gin for an English twist on a negroni.

SAcred Rosehip Cup Bottle

Stellacello Pompelmo, £26.95/50cl, Farmdrop

This grapefruit liqueur has a heady sweet citrus nose and rounded, subtly tart flavours. Try adding a splash to a glass of crisp sparkling wine.

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Stellacello Aperitif Bottle

Pococello, £24.95/50cl, Amazon

This British limoncello is made with Chase potato spirit and aromatic Amalfi lemons. With an intense citrus fragrance, smooth and not too sweet, it works well with tonic water (think revved-up lemon barley water) or topped up with fizz.

Pococello Aperitif Bottle