According to my friends at Wikipedia, an apéritif (also spelled aperitif) is an alcoholic beverage usually served before a meal to stimulate the appetite. These include vermouth, champagne, fino, amontillado (or other styles of sherry) and any still, dry, light white wine.
"Apéritif" is a French word derived from the Latin verb aperire, which means “to open.”BONUS POINTS: A digestif, on the other hand, is an alcoholic beverage served after a meal, in theory to aid digestion. Common kinds of digestif include brandy, eaux de vie (fruit brandies), a pomace brandy (like grappa), various bitter or sweet liqueurs (like Drambuie, amari, herbal liqueur, Chartreuse, or limoncello), and other distilled liquors (ouzo, tequila, whisky or akvavit), or a liquor cocktail, such as a Black Russian (Kahlua and vodka) or a Rusty Nail (Scotch and Drambuie).
Now you know.