One of my favourite French customs is ‘prendre l’apéritif’ – a tradition that I continue to enjoy!
An aperitif is designed to whet the appetite or prepare the palate for a meal. The word originates from the Latin ‘aperire’ which means to open.

What is the equivalent in the UK, I wonder? Is it a cocktail or maybe a pre-dinner (or lunch) drink? I’ve read that inviting someone for a cup of tea, over here, corresponds to asking someone for an aperitif in France. Really?!

My favourite aperitif is a Kir. This drink originated in Burgundy and was named after Canon Félix Kir, a hero of the French Resistance and a Mayor of Dijon, at one time. Kir is white wine mixed with crème de cassis, a blackcurrant liqueur. I usually favour a dry white wine and rather than give specific measures, I tend to go by the colour. I prefer a blush or pink shade whereas my husband prefers his kir to be a darker colour!

As well as using crème de cassis, other alternatives include: Crème de Mûres (blackberry), Crème de Pêche (peach) or Crème de Framboise (raspberry). Others are available!

However, my favourite version has to be a Kir Royale. This is made up with champagne or sparkling wine instead. We often enjoy this on a Saturday evening but I must confess that we use Prosecco!

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In the second part of this post, I’ll be writing about another aperitif that is produced in the Languedoc, called Noilly Prat.

Do you have a favourite aperitif? I’d love to know!