National Aperitif Day – May 18, 2023

National Aperitif Day is celebrated annually on the third Thursday in May. This year, it takes place on May 18. The day appreciates aperitifs — drinks taken before meals, such as fizz, dry vermouth, and white wine.

Although aperitifs originated in France, they are consumed by people all over the globe. They are flavorful and serve as the standout ingredient in many cocktail recipes.

History of National Aperitif Day

An aperitif is a refreshing alcoholic drink served before a meal to stimulate the appetite. It is a liquid appetizer. Aperitifs are usually served to guests during a dinner party, with or without food. Of course, there’s no rule that you can’t unwind with aperitif after a long day. From Campari and Aperol to cocktails like the martini, aperitifs are available in many brands and forms. The spirit offers a delightful and flavorful drinking experience.

The word ‘aperitif’ is French. However, in Italian, it is known as ‘aperitivo.’ Both words have their roots in the Latin word ‘aperire,’ meaning ‘to open, or uncover.’ These drinks were designed to heighten the appetite and prepare the palate for food. Most people serve aperitifs with complex or fatty meals. The word ‘aperitif’ may be used to describe a class of alcoholic beverages and cocktails in which they’re found. These cocktails and alcoholic drinks usually contain herbs or other ingredients that whet the drinker’s appetite.

Aperitifs are very common in Europe, especially in France and Italy. They’re often served as parlor drinks before and after dinner for a heightened dining experience. Instead of an aperitif, some prefer to drink a digestif — a drink that aids in digestion — at the end of their meal. Similar to the American happy hour, bars in Europe serve aperitifs with light snacks for their patrons to enjoy.

National Aperitif Day timeline

5th Century
The Earliest Mention of Aperitifs

Diadochos of Photiki mentions aperitifs in his works.

18th Century
Italy Becomes the Aperitif Center

Entrepreneurs in Turin, Italy, begin producing large quantities of aperitifs.

1860
The Rise of the Campari Group

Gaspare Campari creates the iconic aperitif brand: Campari.

1900s
Aperitifs Arrive in the U.S.

The aperitif travels to the U.S. from Europe.

National Aperitif Day FAQs

What is an example of an aperitif?

Classic aperitifs include dry vermouth, white wine, fizz, and bitter drinks like Campari.

What is the most popular aperitif?

The most famous one-name aperitif is Campari. Its recipe has been a secret since 1860, when its creator, Gaspare Campari, first began bottling his product.

How is an aperitif served?

It’s typically paired with a slice of fruit — for looks and a pre-dining nibble.

National Aperitif Day Activities

  1. Host a dinner party

    Celebrate National Aperitif Day by hosting a dinner party. However, this cannot be just any other party. Remember to begin the meal with aperitifs and end it in style with another variety of aperitifs or digestifs.

  2. Make your own cocktails

    Show off your bartending skills on National Aperitif Day. Whip up your favorite aperitif-based cocktails or experiment with new recipes and call your friends over for a little taste test — how fun does that sound?

  3. Visit a bar

    Does your favorite bar serve the best aperitif cocktails? Celebrate National Aperitif Day with your favorite aperitif cocktails at your favorite bar. Invite your friends to join the fun too!

5 Interesting Facts About Aperitifs

  1. The Queen has a favorite aperitif

    The Queen’s favorite aperitif is a gin and Dubonnet garnished with lemon.

  2. There’s a reason why aperitifs are bitter

    Bitter drinks help us become more alert and ready for the meal we’re about to consume.

  3. Campari got its red color from beetles

    When it was first produced, Campari got its bright red color from cochineal beetles.

  4. Digestifs are the opposite of aperitifs

    Unlike aperitifs, digestifs are served after food to aid your digestion.

  5. James Bond loved aperitifs

    The Negroni cocktail — Bond’s favorite — is traditionally made using gin, Campari, vermouth, and orange peel.

Why We Love National Aperitif Day

  1. It appreciates aperitifs

    We love National Aperitif Day because it appreciates delicious and culturally-rich aperitifs! It recognizes that aperitifs don’t just taste great but also get our appetites ready for a flavorful meal.

  2. It’s a day to relax

    National Aperitif Day is celebrated by drinking aperitifs and aperitif-based cocktails. It is a holiday to get together with friends, visit your favorite bar, and let your hair down.

  3. It encourages experimentation

    National Aperitif Day urges us to be creative and daring in our culinary experiments. So, throw in a dash of this and that to create the cocktail you’ve been dying to try.

National Aperitif Day dates

YearDateDay
2022May 19Thursday
2023May 18Thursday
2024May 16Thursday
2025May 15Thursday
2026May 21Thursday

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