ingredient profile

Ace Holiday Hosting With Apéritifs

By Courier Classics

Dec 13, 2019

Looking for a new spirit to serve at your holiday soiree? Look no further than Apéritifs! Apéritif (French) and Aperitivo (Italian) both refer to a category of "before-dinner" drinks and spirits that been popular since the mid-1880s, (and their counterpart, the Digestif, simply refers to post-dinner, dessert or digestive cocktails). These aperitif cocktails help to stimulate the appetite and cleanse the palate for the delicious meal to come. Want some ideas for how to use these unique spirits at your next gathering? Read on! We've rounded up Cocktail Courier's list of our favorite aperitifs (and bonus recipes!) to serve at your next dinner party.



An aromatized wine, Lillet has a pleasantly fruity, not overly sweet flavor. Its light character makes it a perfect cocktail ingredient as it doesn't overpower the flavors of the other spirits. James Bond loved it, and so will your guests! We love the elegant Cat Eye cocktail featuring Lillet and Strega Liqueur, an herbal Italian liqueur.


Aperol is famously known for being the main ingredient in the classic Italian cocktail, Aperol Spritz, and has semi-sweet, slightly bitter taste. Add a splash of color to the party with its vibrant orange color, and strong mandarin flavor. This might be the secret ingredient in your next colorful cocktail! Check out the spritz How Sweet Eats created: Winter Aperol Spritz

If Christmas lights were a cocktail, it would definitely be this spritz! Festive cranberry, slightly citrusy Aperol, orange, and prosecco glow together for a perfectly light and refreshing winter drink.


Cocchi Rosa is bright, lively, and carries a fruity red wine flavor; since it is a low ABV aromatized wine, this is a great aperitif to sip casually without much thought. The botanical recipe of dried roses, ginger, and vanilla give it a light, sophisticated taste perfect for Aperol lovers looking to branch out. Specialty Brands created a cocktail with tonic and basil that is absolutely to die for. In Rosa & Tonic, black pepper and basil garnishes add savory notes to the light, elegant flavor of Cocchi Rosa in this take on the sweet classic spritz.



Montenegro is a perfect winter Amaro, with its spiced vanilla forward build. It is herbaceous in nature with hints of tropical, warm, fruity, and roasted notes, making it a great liqueur to go along with an equally flavorful dessert to help settle the belly! We even love the idea of it mixed into cocoa for a stand-alone drink as dessert! Stir and Strain concocted one with coffee for a midday, it's-five-o'clock-somewhere pick me up: Stir and Strain Sparkling Coffee and Amaro Cocktail Pairing a full-bodied coffee with the flavorful, bittersweetness of the Montenegro and tonic water. The grapefruit expression garnish tops it off with a light floral aroma.


A mélange of spices, Fernet Branca is just as sweet, bitter, and herbaceous as it smells. Fernet is an enticingly complex northern Italian liqueur that helps warm you on chilly evenings. We love its mint-forward profile for composing a delicate Winter Spritz. You can even pair it with ginger beer for a refreshing spiced mule! Check out Imbibe Magazine's very festive looking creamy cocktail: Pépé Le Moko Grasshopper Notes of chocolate, vanilla, and mint blend together so smoothly in this boozy milkshake. The fernet adds weight and plumpness, while the sea salt counteracts the bitterness of the fernet to let the strong aromas of the liqueurs come forward.



Oh, Bailey's-- we love it in our coffee on a Saturday morning (or Sunday, or Monday...), or sipped on the rocks. The chocolate aroma and creamy vanilla flavor will make you feel like you're drinking Christmas in a glass! Everyone loves hot chocolate, and we especially love it with whipped Irish cream in the Hot Chocolate with Whipped Irish Cream. This whipped cream is unlike anything we've ever seen! Two of our all-time favorite things together in one mug. A delicious variation to a classic hot drink, the Irish cream adds a fabulously rich depth you just can't get enough of.


Limoncello is a very sweet citrus liqueur that lacks the tartness of the lemon but fully embraced the color! Because of its high alcohol content, we recommend putting the liqueur in a shot glass for your party guests to sip. Serve it chilled to exalt the full essence of the lemon. Got extra time? Limoncello is an excellent ingredient for pound cake. Culinary Ginger has a melt-in-your mouth lemony poundcake we just had to share with the world. Limoncello Pound Cake is an irresistible dessert for your sweet-toothed party guests to enjoy the delicious dessert liqueur. Serve it after dinner, or as a delightful midday snack!

This article was originally published on December 13, 2019 and was updated on October 4, 2022.

Explore more Articles chevron-down

Cocktails you may enjoy

See More