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Popular Before Dinner Cocktails


These light, smooth cocktails are some personal favorites that are perfect to serve before a dinner party. Serving cocktails to your guests prior to the meal is not only a great way to keep guests occupied while you finish preparing the food, but also serve as an appetite stimulant, or an aperitif. Any drink that contains gin, vermouth or Campari are good choices and those listed below are quick and easy to mix up and are universal to most tastes.


Classic Gin Martini with Olives
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The classic Martini is always a great choice because the recipe can be adapted easily to individual taste if a guest prefers their Martini Dry, Perfect or even a Gibson. Perfect combination for any meal but I especially prefer a Martini before any vegetarian meal like Creamy Artichoke Pasta.

Gin & It

If you're serving something southern like Lemon Chicken With Mushrooms prepare your guests with a refreshing Gin & It. This is just another variation on the Martini, it substitutes sweet for the dry vermouth and is garnished with a cherry, that's IT.

Rob Roy or Scotch Manhattan

Lovers of scotch will enjoy this cocktail as an alternative to the Martini. A Rob Roy is a sweet, smooth drink that men tend to prefer and makes a nice warming drink for the colder seasons. Try this cocktail before a meal that features Cassoeula, a hearty pork, sausage, and cabbage soup.


Perfect for summer dinner parties as it is a very light, refreshing cocktail. Serve Gimlets to your guests as they sit on the patio and you finish up the spareribs on the barbecue.


Manhattan Cocktail
Photo Courtesy: © Shannon Graham
The Manhattan has been served before dinner since it's creation, which has been a long time since it is one of the oldest cocktails. So many people cannot be wrong and it's popularity has not been lost to time. This cocktail is the perfect combination with any gourmet food such as Blackened Salmon with Chipotle Squash Puree and Mang.


Negroni Cocktail
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A Negroni is a great testament to the flavors of Campari. A sweeter version of the classic Martini, the orange flavors of this cocktail are a delight before any meal. A wonderful precursor for Cornish Game Hen with a Citrus or any meal with a citrus glaze or marinade.

Campari Cocktail

For a very simple and great tasting cocktail the Campari Cocktail ranks high on the list for elegant pre-dinner favorites. The bitters will get your tastebuds ready for a great meal. A personal favorite for a meal to pair with this cocktail is Stuffed Eggplant with Crab.


Martinez Cocktail
Photo Courtesy: © Shannon Graham
The grandfather of the Martini is an obvious choice for an apèritif. The addition of triple sec and orange bitters bring a little citrus to the Martini. You'll love a meal that begins with a Martinez and features an oriental dish like Pineapple Chicken with Coconut Rice Wrapped in Banana Leaves.


Adonis Cocktail
Photo Courtesy: © Shannon Graham
A good Spanish dry sherry used in an Adonis is the perfect primer for a spicy meal. Serve this cocktail before Mexican meals like Ensalada Mexicana Fresca or Chicken Enchiladas Suiza.


Add scotch and sweet vermouth to your Martini for a sweeter apèritif. Hearty meals like Herb Crusted Lamb Chops with Creamy Morel Potatoes work well with an Affinity.
Related Video
Martinez Cocktail Recipe

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