Drink Picks

An American-Made Bitter Liqueur for Aperitivo Hour

Esmè’s Tia Barrett recommends Misoo Aperitivo as a Campari alternative, both sipped straight and subbed into classic cocktails

Photo (above) courtesy of Misoo; photo (below) credit: Natasha Moustache.
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Recommended by

Tia Barrett, beverage director

Esmè, Chicago

Unlike most new discoveries, which come through word-of-mouth, sales reps, and social media, Tia Barrett, the beverage director at Chicago’s Esmè, discovered the Misoo Aperitivo at her local Foxtrot Market, and decided to give it a shot. She was glad she did. Misoo is a product to be on the watch for as more and more consumers are looking for more flavorful low-ABV and no-ABV options outside of teas, kombuchas, and juices,” she says.  

The Italian-style bitter aperitivo was founded in 2020 by four friends, who also make the wine-based canned Misoo Spritz and soon-to-be-released Loretta Vermouth under their company Here’s to Us. The Misoo Aperitivo (pronounced my-sue) at 18% ABV has a deep ruby-red color and a herbaceousness that Barrett finds very distinctive in cocktails. “I enjoy this product as a substitution to Campari and Cappelletti,” she says. “It has more of a nuanced herbal undertone that I find very pleasant. I find it more adaptable and less cloyingly bitter.”

She subs it into classics like the Americano and the Boulevardier, and uses it in her non-alcoholic program as well. “I cooked off the alcohol and used it as a syrup in a non-alcoholic Negroni with pomegranate juice and Seedlip.” 

Misoo Aperitivo Selling Points 

  • American-made bitter liqueurs are experiencing a small boom right now, riding on the back of the popularity of the Negroni and spritzes. 
  • With increased demand for lower-ABV drinks, Misoo Aperitivo offers guests a “fun way to sessionably have a beverage,” says Barrett. 
  • The liqueur has a unique depth of flavor and versatility when used in cocktails. 

Misoo Aperitivo Tasting Notes 

The Misoo Aperitivo’s bitterness is complemented by herbaceous, almost thyme-like undertones with a round texture and mouthfeel. It’s dry, with notes of rose, citrus, lime leaf, and gentian.

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Tyler Wetherall is the senior editor for SevenFifty Daily and the Beverage Media Group publications. Her drinks journalism has appeared in publications including PunchThe GuardianCondé Nast TravelerThrillist, and The Spirits Business, which awarded her the Alan Lodge Young International Drinks Writer of the Year. Tyler is also the author of No Way Home: A Memoir of Life on the Run, and her first novel, Amphibian, is forthcoming. Follow her on Instagram at @tylerwrites.

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