What is an aperitif?

An aperitif is an alcoholic drink served before food to stimulate the palate.

The word Apéritif is French, (the origins of which can be traced back to the Latin ‘apertura’ – ‘to open’) although the tradition of serving a  drink before food originated in Italy.

An aperitif normally has a bitter element to it (wormwood, gentian, quinine, etc.) – this is what stimulates the palate and gets the gastric juices flowing, which in turn prepares our stomachs for food.

Here are some of our favourite classic aperitif’s posters.


Campari image


One of the most famous of the all the Aperitifs and one of our favourites – Campari was inspirational to the creation of Kamm & Sons

Aperol image


We love Aperol. The brand was created in Italy in 1918 and is a lighter (11%Abv.) and fruiter version of that other famous Italian brand, Campari.

Suze image


Suze is a French Apéritif established in 1889.  Its flavour comes from bitter gentian roots (same as Kamm & Sons) but is lower in abv at 15%.

Amer Picon image

Amer Picon

Another French brand using the bitter elements of gentian and quinine. Amer Picon is often used to add a bitter bite to beer, ‘Picon Bière’.

Byrrh image


Pronounced ‘beer’ this bitter French apéritif is best served chilled in a wine glass or served neat over ice. Byrrh has a wine base and contains coffee, orange and cacao along with other bitter elements.

Carpano image


Antonio Carpano launched his Aperitif in Turin, Italy in 1786. It was the first commercially available vermouth (made by infusing herbs, spices, peels into wine and fortifying it with alcohol). Punt e Mes was launched in 1870, a more bitter and robust flavour.