Apéritif and digestif

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Apéritifs served with appetisers.

An apéritif (also spelled aperitif) is an alcoholic drink that is usually served to stimulate the appetite before a meal, contrasting with digestifs, which are served after meals. Apéritifs are commonly served with something small to eat, such as crackers, cheese, pâté, olives, and various kinds of finger food. This French word is derived from the Latin verb aperire, which means “to open.”

A digestif is an alcoholic beverage that is taken just after a meal, purportedly as an aid to digestion — hence the name, which is borrowed from French. If a digestif is a bitters, it will contain bitter or carminative herbs that some believe will aid digestion. In contrast to apéritifs, digestifs usually contain more alcohol.

Digestifs are usually taken straight (neat). Common choices are amari, bitters, brandy, grappa, herbal liqueur, limoncello, ouzo, tequila, and whisky.

Some wines (usually fortified wines) are served as digestifs — for example, sherry, port, and madeira.

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