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Aperitifs vs Digestifs

Today's post was written by intern Jacki. Follow her on Twitter at @FashionFrenzzzy

Do you know the difference between an aperitif and a digestif? Despite the similar names, these drink offerings are not one and the same! Up your sophistication quotient by learning the difference...

An aperitif ("ah-pair-ah-TEEF") is served before a meal to stimulate the appetite. They are commonly served with a savory snack such as crackers, cheese, pate, or olives. Aperitif is a French word derived from the Latin for “to open.” This is fitting since an apertif opens the meal. It whets the palatte and makes your meal taste better. Aperitifs should be dry or even slightly bitter.

A digestif ("dee-jess-TEEF"), on the other hand, are served at the end of a meal to sip on and aid digestion. Some digestifs are made of bitters or herbs traditionally believed to help one digest. They generally contain more alcohol, and have a sweeter taste and sometimes a syrupy consistency.

Armed with this knowledge, won't you be an impressive host at your next dinner party! Here is a handy guide for remembering:




before the meal
after the meal
purpose to stimulate appetite
to aid digestion
dry with hint of sweetness
slightly bitter
sweeter, even syrupy
higher alcohol content
gin martini, brut champagne,  
campari & soda, manhattan
cognac, port, brandy,
grappa, sherry, whisky


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