Queen Bee Mixology

The Allure of Apéritifs and Digestifs: Pre- and Post-Dinner Drinks

The Allure of Apéritifs and Digestifs: Pre- and Post-Dinner Drinks

Hello all fellow cocktail enthusiasts! Welcome to the Queen Bee Mixology hive, where we’re about to embark on a delightful journey into the world of pre- and post-dinner libations: apéritifs and digestifs. If you’re curious about what these intriguing drinks are all about, stick around, because I’ve got a lot to share: history, tips & tricks, and some of my favorite combinations! 


Getting to Know Apéritifs

Imagine this, you’re sitting at a picturesque sidewalk café in Paris, enjoying the sunset as you sip on a refreshing, light, and flavorful drink. Chances are, you’re indulging in an apéritif, the French ritual that has stolen hearts worldwide.

Apéritifs are those delicious little drinks meant to prep your taste buds and stimulate your appetite before a meal. These pre-dinner drinks have an essential purpose: to awaken your senses and set the stage for the culinary experience that follows. They typically have lower alcohol content and are often infused with botanicals, herbs, or fruit flavors.

If you’ve been following me for a little while you’ve probably noticed my speciality is twists on classic cocktails, so I’ve gathered a few of my favorite variations on classic aperitifs and listed them here.


Fall Aperol Spritz

Delicious in the fall, but I’m mixing this apéritif year-round. The addition of ginger beer really makes the flavors in this cocktail shine.

Cocktail Negroni recipe with chocolate, chocolate Negroni best Negroni recipe easy

Chocolate Negroni

Savor the Chocolate Negroni aperitif – an enticing blend of gin, Grand Mariner, Campari, and Creme de cacao. The captivating complexity delights your palate, making it the perfect pre-dinner indulgence. Its rich flavors and alluring bitterness awaken your senses, preparing you for a delightful dining experience ahead.


Discovering Digestifs

After a delectable meal, when you’re feeling content but not quite ready to say farewell to the delightful flavors lingering on your palate, digestifs are exactly what you’re looking for! Digestifs are post-dinner drinks, the gentle nightcap to round off your culinary adventure.

Unlike apéritifs, these after-dinner drinks are known for their soothing and digestive qualities. They help ease the heaviness that sometimes follows a hearty meal, making you feel as satisfied as a well-fed kitten. Digestifs often have a higher alcohol content than apéritifs, but they don’t overpower your senses; instead, they bring a sense of comfort and relaxation.

I always mix up a nice digestif after dinners, especially when I want to end on a satisfying note, It just feels like the perfect way to wrap up a good meal and enjoy that last little indulgence. Here I’ve listed a few of my current go-to’s.

French 75 recipe best French 75 digestif cocktail recipe

French 75

A French 75 with a twist! Get cozy with honey-infused gin, zesty lemon, and bubbly champagne!

Mexican White Russian, White Russian with tequila digestif recipe. easy cocktail White Russian

Mexican White Russian

A fusion of the classic White Russian’s smoothness with bold tequila. Savor the creamy delight, as each sip transports you to sunny beaches, making it the perfect post-dinner indulgence.


The Charm of Traditions

While apéritifs and digestifs have found a special place in the hearts of the French and Italians, these delightful drinks are cherished across the globe. Each country has its signature pre- and post-dinner concoctions that reflect its unique culture and flavors.

In Spain, you’ll encounter vermouth, a popular apéritif often enjoyed with a tapa or two. Vermouth comes in red and white varieties, both with their distinctive blends of botanicals and spices that add a touch of intrigue to your evening.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, a dram of whisky serves as the perfect digestif to warm you up after a hearty meal. Sip it neat or on the rocks, and let the rich, smoky flavors create a moment of pure bliss.

Perfect Pairings

Apéritifs and digestifs are not only delightful on their own but also work wonders when paired with food. The right combination can elevate your dining experience to new heights and make you feel like a true culinary connoisseur.

For an apéritif pairing, consider serving a classic Negroni with a plate of antipasti. The bitter-sweet symphony of gin, Campari, and vermouth will complement the assortment of olives, cheeses, and cured meats like a match made in heaven.

As for a digestif pairing, let’s go back to Italy and indulge in a velvety glass of amaretto alongside a luscious tiramisu. The almond notes of amaretto will harmonize beautifully with the creamy goodness of the dessert, leaving you with a satisfied smile.

The queen of Queen Bee Mixology (Kelly Sparks) sipping on a mocktail at a bar in Seattle.

And there you have it! The fascinating world of apéritifs and digestifs is a treasure trove of flavors and traditions that can add a touch of magic to any meal. Whether you’re starting with an apéritif to whet your appetite or winding down with a digestif to savor the memories of a delicious dinner, these delightful drinks are sure to capture your heart and leave you feeling satisfied with your cullinary experience. 

Something I like to do occasionally is to prepare an apéritif and a digestif when I’m making a home-cooked meal for guests. Everyone loves the extra thought and care that goes into crafting these delightful drinks, setting the stage for a memorable dining experience that begins with a lively apéritif, and ends with a soothing and satisfying digestif. It’s a little touch of elegance that not only enhances the flavors of the meal but also brings an element of sophistication and joy to the entire evening. So, whether we’re clinking glasses to kick off the festivities or winding down with a toast to good times shared, these pre- and post-dinner libations never fail to add that extra sparkle to our cherished moments together.

Cheers to the allure of apéritifs and digestifs—may your glasses be full and your hearts even fuller! Until next time, happy mixing!

Author Meet Kelly Sparks, the creative mastermind and cocktail influencer behind @QueenBeeMixology. While mixology may not be her day job, it is her passion. As the Founder and CEO of VMG Studios, a successful and award-winning creative agency and video production studio, Kelly brings her expertise in creativity to the world of cocktails. As a self-taught and dedicated do-it-yourselfer, Kelly makes the journey to amazing cocktails accessible to everyone. And when she’s not hard at work, you can find her sipping a delicious drink with her husband.

To mix drinks like a pro, check out my go-to bar tools and glasses.