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Aperitif cocktail ( Kir ), with puff pastry cheese biscuits ( Gougères ) as appetizer

An aperitif (even an aperitif , often in Switzerland for aperitif served) is a usually alcoholic drink that before the food is consumed, the appetite to stimulate and set the stage for the upcoming meal. It is an integral part of the Romanesque-influenced cooking traditions such as French and Italian cuisine .

The aperitif also has a social function and serves to shorten the waiting time for the guests to serve the food or to bridge it until everyone has arrived and one can go to the table.


Campari soda, with chips and nuts
French aperitif, with nuts

As an aperitif, certain own spirits , wines, sparkling wines , beer and certain short drinks , the so-called before-dinner- cocktails . There are a variety of regional preferences and fashion trends. In the south of France the classic aperitif is a pastis , in Burgundy the kir . Dry sherry is also a common aperitif. In general, aperitifs are often tart or bitter, as this stimulates the appetite, and rarely sweet. Drinks that contain milk or egg are unusual, as protein or fat components contribute to the feeling of satiety. The aperitif should also go well with the menu or the wines served with it, e.g. B. no sweet aperitif before a bitter wine or no aperitif on ice before a hot soup.

Small appetizers or snacks are often served with the aperitif , e.g. B. pistachios , olives or the like; this is how aperitif can also describe the drink in connection with the little things served.

Well-known aperitif cocktails:


The current meaning of the word aperitif as "alcoholic drink (to stimulate the appetite)" developed in the 19th century in the French language and was adopted into German in the 20th century with the French phonetic form. In an older usage, as a medical term meaning “opening, laxative remedy”, it was already in the 16th century from the Middle Latin aper (i) tivus (“opening”) to Latin aperīre (“opening”), in the German language has been borrowed.

Aperitif in bars

Red wine and vermouth , with tapas

In Italy, the aperitivo is not only the aperitif itself, but also the habit of meeting friends in the cities for a drink in bars and pubs and having small bites. This form of evening or lunchtime aperitif is particularly popular in Milan , where this custom is said to have first emerged in connection with the Campari who came from here . The Spaniards meet for this very purpose under the term Tapeo , derived from tapas , for which alcohol is also consumed. The Spanish verb tapear means something like "to go through bars and restaurants to eat tapas."

In Northern Italy , the aperitivo culture is widespread in all cities of Lombardy , as well as in the neighboring provinces and in many ski areas in the Alps . The aperitivo is known in many bars in Genoa, Turin, Rome and Naples , but it hardly exists in the southern part of Italy and on the islands. In Friuli-Venezia Giulia and most of the Veneto , the aperitivo takes place in the evening, in accordance with local customs, with wine and snacks.

Aperitif in Switzerland

In Switzerland the term aperitif has another meaning. It describes a kind of stand-up party at which small pastries and drinks are served, comparable to finger food .

Related drinks

In contrast to the aperitif, the digestif is served after a meal .


Web links

Commons : Apéritif  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Aperitif  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Apéro  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Variant dictionary of German : The standard language in Austria, Switzerland and Germany as well as in Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, East Belgium and South Tyrol. De Gruyter, Berlin 2004, page 49.
  2. ^ Paragraph according to Kluge Etymological Dictionary of the German Language , 24th edition, 2002, Lemma Aperitif