Kitchn Love Letters

These Easy-Drinking Aperitifs Are My New Favorite Evening Sip

updated Oct 26, 2022
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Credit: Le Moné

If you’ve ever been out to dinner with me, or have sat down at my dining table, you’ll know that I love a good glass of vino. It’s not that I won’t enjoy a thirst-quenching cocktail or crack open a cold beer from time to time (I finally found a GF beer that’s worthy of my tastebuds), it’s just that wine is kinda my bread and butter when it comes to getting a buzz on. And, while I’ve stumbled across a few worthy alternatives to my beloved adult grape juice, I didn’t think there was anything that could permanently replace my dependable and delicious favorite (which is ideally a pét-nat with a crisp, clean finish — just in case you were wondering what to pick up on your way over). That is, until I tried this head-turning aperitif brand: Le Moné.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t have particularly high hopes opening a new bottle of Instagram-worthy booze. It’s not that I wasn’t intrigued or excited to try out the brandy-fortified, agave-sweetened aperitif — it’s just that it would take a lot to steal the number one spot on my bar cart. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but all it took was one sip, and I was instantly converted.

If you’re a little behind the times on the aperitif wave (don’t worry, I was right there with you just a few short weeks ago), allow me to explain. They’re traditionally used before a meal to stimulate your appetite, but these days, the genre of alcohol is appropriate for any time of the evening — and is usually incorporated into a wine spritz or simply paired with sparkling water. There’s plenty of aperitifs out there to choose from, but Le Moné is hands down the best I’ve tried thus far. The innovative alcohol brand has five equally scrumptious bottles (try Raspberry & Lavender or Meyer Lemon & Blackberry), but I found their OG Meyer Lemon to be the most versatile for an everyday sip.

The bottle is 16 percent alcohol by volume, so it’s a little stronger than wine, but milder than other common spirits. Unlike alcohols meant for mixing, Le Moné is pretty straightforward. It can be added to a glass of Prosecco, substituted in for tequila as a lighter alternative to your favorite drink (the makers suggest three parts Le Moné to one part tequila for the perfect ratio), incorporated into bartender-level drinks such as a pisco sour, or, my go-to, simply poured in a glass topped with Topo Chico. The classic Meyer Lemon is adaptable, but the other flavors hold their own as well. I found their Meyer Lemon, Almond, & Vanilla to be a great component in my special-occasion mezcal Negroni. Bottom line: The stuff is unbelievably light and crisp, like a kiss of citrus floating atop whatever it is you’ve chosen to mix your Le Moné with.

Credit: Stella Totino

Because all their bottles are crafted with simple, organic ingredients, I find that I am never left with any headache or fuzziness the next day (even if I’ve had more than one glass). The taste is scrumptious, no matter the flavor, and there’s no doubt that the quality of ingredients shines through. Oh, and did I mention the bottle itself is a work of art? It looks stunning atop my bar cart and has been a conversation starter with many a house guest thanks to its chic label and fun shape.

I have not run out of sipping and mixing ideas thus far, but if I ever do, I plan to head over to the Le Moné website. They’ve got tons of drink inspo in their cocktail library. Who knows, I might even host an aperitif party and have each guest come up with their own cocktail. (There’s no doubt that every single creation would be superbly drinkable.) Until then, though, I’ll be enjoying my nightly Le Moné over ice, with a splash of sparkling water — simple and delicious. Just ask my neighbors, they can probably hear my satisfied sigh after every single sip.

Buy: Meyer Lemon, $35