An aperitif is an alcoholic drink typically served before a meal to stimulate the appetite. The word "aperitif" is derived from the Latin verb aperire, which means "to open."
The history of the aperitif is believed to date back to Ancient Rome, when it was customary to drink wine before a meal. In the Middle Ages, an aperitif was often a medicinal brew made with herbs and spices. Today, the most popular aperitifs are French.
To make the perfect aperitif, start by pouring one ounce of your favorite liquor into a glass. Add four ounces of sparkling water or seltzer, and then add your favorite fruits or herbs for flavor. Serve chilled.