An aperitif is a common alcoholic drink that is consumed before eating to intensify the appetite. It is an integral part of Romanesque cooking traditions such as French and Italian cuisine. This word comes from the Latin apertivus, derived from aperire which means ‘open’. The origins of aperitifs are not known but some believe that the concept of consuming an alcoholic drink before a meal goes back to the ancient Egypt. We know for sure that the Assyrians had palm wine as aperitif and the Romans used to drink fortified wines for special occasions. In the Middle Ages, some alcoholic beverages was reserved for medical use being drank at the beginning of the meal. They were drinks based on wine with aromatic plants or spices.
Archival documents show that the aperitif appeared in 1786 in Turin, invented by Antonio Benedetto Carpano. Years later was marketed by houses like Martini, Cinzano and Gancia. The modern aperitif, though, was popularized in 1846 by Joseph Dubonnet, a French chemist who made a mixture of wine and quinine, a drink that fighted against malaria.