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.
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.
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Best aperitifs and digestifs to try
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.