Best Aperitifs to Try in 2022

Aperitifs are a category that is often overlooked but has great flavor and variety. Aperitifs can be made with liqueur, vermouth or bitters, and spirits with a low ABV but are rich in variety. Many are flavored with herbs and spices, fruits, and flowers from the region where they were made, usually in European countries.

A new generation of domestically-produced aperitifs is also available. They have familiar flavors that are closer to home. Aperitifs were traditionally drunk before meals and meant to stimulate appetite. They can be enjoyed on their own or mixed with soda or Tonic to make a refreshing Spritz.

Best Overall: Select Aperitivo

Although this Venetian aperitif may not be as well-known as other Italian brands such as Campari or Aperol, it is still a great choice. This aperitif was first created in 1920 and is still a favorite today. It features botanicals such as juniper and rhubarb that create an intriguingly complex palate. This is a great way to kick off your evening before you start cooking. Combine the ingredients with soda water and prosecco, and garnish with a large olive. Although this last step may seem counterintuitive at first, the bitter and floral notes of this complex spirit are somehow merged by the salty taste of the olive.

Best Vermouth: Carpano Antica Formula

Thandi Walton, the lead bartender at Bar Margot in the Four Seasons Hotel in Atlanta, says that Carpano Antica is a tasty liqueur that can be drunk straight or mixed into cocktails. It opens the palate with sweet notes of vanilla and almond, orange, raisins and cherry when drunk alone.

This vermouth is a premium one with rich flavors. It will elevate any Negroni or Manhattan to the next level.

Lo-Fi Gentian Amaro is the American’s Best

Lo-Fi has been producing vermouth and amaro for several years in Napa, California. They are a leader in American aperitifs. This Gentian Amaro can be used to start a meal, and it pairs well with almost any beverage you can imagine, including beer, whiskey, sparkling wine, or even champagne.

Lo-Fi’s base spirit is California wine. It is then flavored with botanicals. Citrus, ginger, and Cinchona Bark are the most prominent flavors in this amaro. This can be enjoyed in a Spritz or directly into a beer.

Lillet Blanc is best when paired with Tonic

Since 1872, Lillet Blanc has been enjoyed by people worldwide. This Bordeaux aperitif is made from grapes and oranges. Both the Blanc, the Rouge, and Rose are refreshing when chilled or served over ice. Lillet & Tonic, however, is a vibrant and lively cocktail that you can enjoy in the evening.

Mix all ingredients in a large glass. Garnish with anything you like.

Best Dry: Noilly Prat Extra-Dry Vermouth

There are two types of vermouth: dry and extra dry. Noilly Prat is the French version. Like all vermouths, this one is made with dry white wine. It’s macerated with 14 herbs and spices from around the globe, including bitter orange from Tunisia and coriander from Morocco.

You can either sip it on its own or make a pre-dinner 50:/50 Martini using equal parts sweet vermouth and dry vermouth.

Best Most Versatile: Italicus

This is an unusual Italian aperitif, which is based on an 1850s recipe. It is sweet, but not too sweet, and has a variety of botanicals to define the palate, including bergamot orange, lavender, rose, and even chamomile. Italicus is a popular choice for bartenders, and it can be enjoyed in many different ways.

You can make a simple Spritz with it, or combine it with grapefruit juice. To counter the sweetness, you can also make a Negroni Bicco with dry gin, dry vermouth, and dry vermouth. This is a great choice for your home bar.

Best French byrrh Grand Quinquina

Frederic Yarm, The Smoke Shop , Somerville, MA, says that “the French have mastered the production of quinine-infused aperitif wine called quinas,” Frederic Yarm, The Smoke Shop , said. “Byrrh has a combination of coffee, bitter orange peels and cocoa and is sweetened by muscat grape must so that it resembles port. It is a sweeter port that has a pleasant quinine bitterness to it. This makes it interesting to drink over ice, mixed with mezcal or funky rums or American whiskey in cocktails.

Martini and Rossi Riserva Speciale Ambrato are the best Italians

Cory Mendonca, Main St. Provisions in Las Vegas, says that “I have been on an ambrato Verde kick lately when it comes aperitifs. Specifically the Martini Riserva Speciale and Mancino Bianco.” The style has a muted citrus tone with some woody, almost chewy components that add great depth to cocktails. They are also great with a little bit of mineral water.

Martini Riserva Speciale Ambrato, a newer style Vermouth di Torino is named for its amber color. Ambrato means amber in Italian. It is made from a variety of Italian wines, including Moscato d’Asti and Pontica, as well three types of wormwood – Absinthium (or Vulgaris) – to create a bitter woodsy fragrance of flavors.

Best Craft: Figli’s Ambrosia and Don Ciccio

Deke Dunne is the bar supervisor at Alegory at Eaton Hotel in D.C., and says that “Don Ciccio’s Ambrosia and Figli’s Ambrosia are an absolute game-changer.”

“Whenever someone orders an Aperol Spritz I immediately ask them if he or she would like to try Figli’s Ambrosia and Don Ciccio. They are converting 99 percent of the time. Ambrosia has a much better taste than Aperol and I can boast about a local aperitif. You will be begging for endless summers or trips to Italy with the blood orange, turmeric, and cantaloupe.

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