Aromatized wine-based aperitifs

Aromatized wine is a fortified wine that has been infused with botanicals(herbs and spices) for flavour and colour.

The most widely used aromatized wine is Vermouth which can be distinguish from other wines in the same category by being flavoured with  “Artemisia Absinthium” Wormwood. For more details about Vermouth you can check my article Different styles of Vermouth and its origins.

There are a number of aperitif wines that aren’t exactly vermouth but have a lot in common with vermouth in terms of botanicals.


The main flavouring of Quiquina is Chinchona bark which includes quinine (taste component in tonic water).

aromatized aperitif wine dubonnetDubonnet Rouge – A French aperitif from the south of France which is flavoured with herbs, spices and quinine and is aged in oak for three years.With its rich ruby colour, spicy aroma, and refreshing flavours, Dubonnet can be used in a wide range of aperitif cocktails. 

Lillet Blanc – The primary product of Lillet which was known historically under a different names(Kina Lillet). Today’s Lillet Blanc is probably the mildest aperitif wine with notes of
tropical fruits and spices. Lillet Blanc pairs very well with gin.

Byrrh – French aperitif with a mild quinine character and coffee and bitter orange tasting notes is aromatized aperitif wine byrrhbased on red wine mistelle  rather than majority of aromatized wines based on white wine mistelle. 

Mistelle is used mainly as a base for aperitifs and is produced by adding alcohol to non-fermented grape juice.  The addition of alcohol stops the fermentation and the result is sweeter then fully fermented grape juice in which the sugars turn to alcohol.


Americano use gentian root as a main flavouring ingredient and the name refers to Italian word Amer meaning bitter.

Cocchi Americano – Italian aperitif wine is crisp and citrusy with delicate bitter edge. Cocchi can be found as a best replacement for Kina Lillet, aperitif wine used in James Bond Vesper Martini. 


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