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Top 17 Aperitif Cocktails to Try

Aperitif cocktails are the perfect way to kick off a relaxed evening with friends or family. These delightful concoctions are designed to stimulate the appetite and prepare your taste buds for the meal to come. Typically light, refreshing, and slightly bitter, aperitifs are crafted to awaken the senses and set the stage for a delicious dining experience. If you’re someone who enjoys sipping on a beverage that’s not too strong but still packs a flavorful punch, these aperitifs might just become your new favorite thing. Whether you’re a fan of citrusy flavors, herbal notes, or a touch of effervescence, there’s an aperitif cocktail out there with your name on it.

Negroni

orange negroni cocktail on countertop

Simply mix gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth with ice in a mixing glass to make a Negroni. After thoroughly stirring the mixture to chill and liquefy the cocktail, strain it into an ice-filled glass. To release the drink’s aromatic notes, garnish with a twist of orange peel while expressing the oils over it. A refined and powerful drink, the Negroni is ideal for individuals who value the depth of bitter flavors. A strong botanical foundation is provided by the gin, while a distinct bitterness is added by the Campari, and richness and depth are added by the sweet vermouth. The orange peel garnish gives a splash of zesty scent that accentuates the cocktail’s flavors and adds visual appeal.


Aperol Spritz

Aperol Spritz Cocktail

Start by adding ice to a wine glass to prepare an aperitif. Add 2 ounces each of Aperol and Prosecco in an equal mixture, then top with a dash of club soda. After giving everything a little toss to blend, top it up with an orange slice for color and flavor. To arouse the palette and whet the appetite before a meal, the Aperol Spritz is the ideal aperitif. When you want a light and tasty cocktail, it’s a refreshing and energizing choice for warm weather because of its bittersweet flavor profile and effervescent texture from the Prosecco and club soda.


Boulevardier

a glass of boulevardier cocktail

Start by mixing equal quantities of bourbon, Campari, and sweet vermouth with ice in a mixing glass to make a Boulevardier. As a result, the flavors can converge and the beverage can chill without dilution. After the ingredients have been thoroughly combined, strain the drink into a cold glass, usually a coupe or a rocks glass with a big ice cube. Give an orange twist to release the zesty aroma, then twist it to express the oils over the drink. Garnish with the orange twist. For aficionados of whiskey who value strong, bitter flavors, the Boulevardier is a sophisticated and subtle cocktail. A rich and substantial base is provided by the bourbon, while a bitter and herbal note is added by the Campari and a hint of sweetness and depth are added by the sweet vermouth. The orange twist garnish enhances the cocktail’s flavors with a lovely zesty scent.


Paper Plane

Paper Plane

A modern classic with a flavorful fusion, the Paper Plane cocktail is the ideal choice for individuals who value a well-balanced and elegant libation. This cocktail, which is made with whiskey, Aperol, amaro liqueur, and fresh lemon juice, has a powerful and rich flavor. Simply add bourbon, Aperol, amaro liqueur, and freshly squeezed lemon juice in a cocktail shaker with ice to make a Paper Plane. Shake the ingredients well to chill and thoroughly combine them, and then strain the concoction into a chilled glass, usually a coupe or a rocks glass.


Manhattan

manhattan cocktail

The flavor profile of the Manhattan is well known for being powerful and rich. A strong and robust base is provided by the bourbon or rye whiskey, while a hint of sweetness and richness is added by the sweet vermouth. With hints of spice and citrus notes, the mix of orange bitters and Angostura bitters adds depth and complexity and pairs flawlessly with the whiskey and vermouth. A Luxardo cherry is generally used as the Manhattan’s garnish; it gives the drink a sweet and tart touch that goes wonderfully with it. The outcome is a cocktail that has a flavor that is silky, well-rounded, and refined and is ideal for sipping and savoring. The Manhattan is a timeless classic that never goes out of style, whether you’re sipping it before dinner or as a nightcap.


Blood and Sand

Blood and Sand

The distinctive flavor combination that unites to provide a balanced and complex taste profile gives the Blood and Sand cocktail its name. The sweetness of the vermouth and Cherry Heering liqueur counterbalance the smooth and smoky tones of the Scotch whiskey, and the fresh orange juice offers a fresh and zesty citrus accent. Express an orange peel over the Blood and Sand cocktail as a garnish by holding it over the glass and giving it a twist to release the oils, then removing the peel. The end product is a visually spectacular drink with a flavor profile that is both powerful and well-balanced and is sure to please your palate. The Blood and Sand drink is a true classic that is well worth trying, whether you’re a whisky connoisseur or a cocktail connoisseur eager to try something new.


Vesper

vesper cocktail with bottles of ingredients in the background

Gin, vodka, and Lillet Blanc should be combined with ice in a mixing glass to form a Vesper cocktail.  Pour the cocktail into a chilled cocktail glass after a gentle stir to chill and thin it down. The Vesper cocktail is renowned for its distinctive blend of alcoholic beverages, with both gin and vodka taking center stage. The vodka provides a neutral base that harmonizes the ingredients, while the gin adds a depth of botanical and herbal flavors. French fortified wine Lillet Blanc gives the cocktail a hint of sweetness and richness. Lemon peel can be used as a garnish if you desire something with a citrus flavor. Simply twist the lemon peel to release the oils, then rub it over the cocktail. Discard the peel after that.


Dry Martini

dry martini cocktail with bottles of ingredients at the background

The right ratio of gin to vermouth, with gin taking center stage, is the secret to a fantastic Dry Martini. The cocktail’s flavors are elevated by the addition of the dry vermouth’s delicate herbal depth and the dash of orange bitters’ zesty sharpness. For a Dry Martini, a lemon twist is frequently added as a garnish because it adds a burst of citrus flavor that goes well with the drink’s sharpness from the gin and vermouth. Simply twist the lemon twist to release the oils, then squeeze it over the cocktail. Discard the twist or serve it as a garnish.


Negroni Spagliato

negroni sbagliato cocktail

The typical Negroni’s bitter and herbaceous flavors are still there in the Negroni Sbagliato, but the sparkling wine gives it a lightness and effervescence that make it a more palatable and reviving alternative. The orange peel garnish gives the drink a zesty scent that balances the bitter flavors of the Campari and adds another level of complexity. The Negroni Sbagliato is the ideal cocktail for a pre-dinner aperitif, a joyful gathering, or just for enjoying a cool beverage on a warm day thanks to its lively and sparkling personality. Cheers to the effervescent Negroni Sbagliato, a modern take on an old favorite!


Hanky Panky

Hanky Panky

The Hanky Panky cocktail is a traditional libation that combines the complexity of Fernet-Branca, the richness of sweet vermouth, and the botanicals of gin to create a sophisticated and subtle beverage. Those who enjoy strong, herbal flavors with a hint of bitterness will love this cocktail. In a mixing glass with ice, combine equal quantities of sweet vermouth and gin to make a Hanky Panky drink. Add a dash or two of Fernet-Branca, a rare herbal liqueur from Italy renowned for its sophisticated flavor.  After thoroughly chilling the ingredients with ice, pour the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass. Orange peel can be used as a garnish by twisting it over the beverage to release its zesty oils and rubbing it around the glass rim to add flavor.


Americano

a glass of Americano cocktail

The Americano cocktail, a traditional Italian libation from the 19th century, is thought to have been the first cocktail James Bond ever ordered in one of Ian Fleming’s books. It’s a flexible beverage that can be enjoyed on its own as a light and energizing sip or as the foundation for inventive variations using various kinds of vermouth, bitters, or garnishes. The Americano cocktail is the excellent choice for individuals who value aperitifs with a chic and revitalizing twist since it strikes the optimum balance between bitter, sweet, and effervescent. It is a timeless classic that continues to be favored by cocktail connoisseurs all around the world because of its simplicity, adaptability, and allure. Drink an Americano, and allow its energizing flavors to whisk you away to a blissful cocktail moment. Cheers!


Vieux Carre

Vieux Carre

The Vieux Carre drink is a traditional and elegant concoction that was created in New Orleans to honor the city’s illustrious culinary and cocktail traditions. Rye whiskey, cognac, sweet vermouth, Benedictine liqueur, and aromatic bitters are used to create this complex and robust drink, creating a flavor combination that is both assertive and sophisticated. With its rich and well-balanced flavors, the Vieux Carre cocktail provides a sophisticated and nuanced drinking experience. A drink that is a true celebration of craft and flavor is created when the spiciness of rye whiskey, the smoothness of cognac, the sweetness of vermouth, the herbal notes of Bénédictine, and the aromatic bitters all come together in perfect harmony. Enjoy a Vieux Carre’s robust, sophisticated flavor, and let each sip take you back to the city’s colonial streets. Cheers!


Rob Roy

Rob Roy

To increase the richness and depth of the cocktail, you can optionally add a dash of bitters, such as orange or Angostura. After thoroughly blending and chilling the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice, pour the concoction into a chilled cocktail glass. A maraschino cherry can be used to add a finishing touch and give the Rob Roy cocktail a splash of color and sweetness. The cherry adds a wonderful contrast to the cocktail’s overall flavor profile by balancing the flavors of the whisky and vermouth.


Old Pal

old pal cocktail with campari, sweet vermouth and rye whiskey

Whiskey enthusiasts who like a harmony of strong tastes will love the traditional and elegant Old Pal cocktail. The exquisite balance of sweetness, bitterness, and complexity in this cocktail, which is made with rye whiskey, dry vermouth, and Campari, is sure to please the discriminating palette. A lemon twist or wedge can be used as a garnish to offer a zingy citrus note that harmonizes with the cocktail’s characteristics. The lemon twist or wedge gives the beverage a bit of radiance and aesthetic appeal.


Dirty Martini

dirty martini cocktail with bottles of ingredients in the background

Those who enjoy a salty and briny variation on the standard Martini adore the classic beverage known as the Dirty Martini. This cocktail, which can be made with either vodka or gin, dry vermouth, olive juice, and olives as garnish, is renowned for its peculiar flavor. Those who enjoy a savory and strong variation on the traditional Martini will enjoy the Dirty Martini. It is a popular option for anyone wishing to improve their cocktail experience because of its distinctive flavor profile and attractive presentation. Drink and enjoy a well-made Dirty Martini’s briny goodness. Cheers!


Orange Blossom

Orange Blossom

Begin by combining gin, sweet vermouth, and freshly squeezed orange juice in a cocktail shaker to make an Orange Blossom drink. The sweet vermouth lends a hint of herbal sweetness, while the gin creates a botanical and juniper-forward basis. Freshly squeezed orange juice gives the beverage a burst of zesty brightness as well as a lively and acidic undertone. For the flavors to fully meld and the liquid to freeze, vigorously shake the concoction with ice. Pour the liquid through a strainer into a chilled cocktail glass, then garnish with an orange wedge to give the drink some visual appeal and bring out its zesty flavor. The orange slice makes the cocktail more aesthetically pleasing by adding a blast of freshness and a splash of color.


Pimms Cup

Pimms Cup

The legendary Pimm’s No. 1 liqueur, or your preferred gin, is blended with fresh squeezed lemon juice, ginger beer, and a mélange of fruit to make the delightful and eminently British Pimm’s Cup cocktail. It is garnished with an orange wheel, lemon wheel, and a sprig of mint. This wonderful mixture is renowned for its crisp and energizing flavors and is ideal for sipping in warm weather. Pick your chosen Pimm’s No. 1 liqueur or gin to use as the cocktail’s base spirit before beginning to make a Pimm’s Cup. Freshly squeezed lemon juice should be added since it gives the beverage a tart, lemony flavor and adds brightness. Add ginger beer to the top for a touch of spice and a delightful fizz.


A sophisticated Boulevardier cocktail in a classic lounge setting. The cocktail is elegantly presented in a lowball glass, displaying its rich, deep red hue. A twist of orange zest is draped over the rim as a garnish, adding a citrusy aroma. The glass sits on an antique wooden bar counter, illuminated by warm, ambient lighting, creating an intimate and refined atmosphere. In the background, shelves lined with premium spirits and vintage decor enhance the luxurious feel. The focus is on the exquisite appearance of the Boulevardier, symbolizing timeless sophistication and a refined taste in cocktails.

17 Aperitif Cocktail Recipes

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
See also  Amer Picon: The Iconic French Aperitif You Need to Try

Instructions

  1. Pick your favorite recipe
  2. Gather all the needed ingredients
  3. Prep an aperitif cocktail in less than 5 minutes

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Top 17 Aperitif Cocktails to Try
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Paul Kushner

Written by Paul Kushner

Founder and CEO of MyBartender. Graduated from Penn State University. He always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. His restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time he turned 17 he was serving tables, and by 19 he was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, Paul opened his first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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A classic Negroni cocktail in an elegant setting. The drink is served in a traditional old-fashioned glass, showcasing its signature deep red-orange color. A twist of orange peel rests on the rim as a garnish, adding a zestful accent. The glass sits on a sleek, marble bar top, reflecting soft lighting that adds to the sophisticated atmosphere. In the background, there's a subtle hint of a high-end bar with shelves of various spirits and dim ambient lighting, creating an upscale, refined environment. The focus is on the rich color and timeless appeal of the Negroni, symbolizing classic elegance and taste.

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A sophisticated and aromatic Italian Espresso Martini, served in an elegant martini glass on a sleek, modern bar counter. The cocktail is a rich, dark brown, almost black, embodying the intense flavor of freshly brewed Italian espresso. It's topped with a creamy, light brown foam, and garnished with a few coffee beans. The background is a stylish and contemporary bar setting, with a minimalist design, ambient lighting, and an array of high-end spirits and bar tools. The focus is on the cocktail, highlighting its luxurious and robust appearance, creating an inviting and upscale atmosphere.

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