How to host an Apéro like the French!

There are a few things you need to know when hosting an Apéro like the French. You must pick the right type of food including cheese, meat, and snacks, and the perfect drink! I’ve thrown many Apéros at my apartment over the years, and I can’t wait to share with you how to throw your own.

Meat and Cheese Board

What is a French Apéro?

Paris at Night with no people

An Apéro also known as an apéritif, is a popular French tradition of gathering close friends and family together to enjoy finger foods and a nice drink at your house or apartment. It is often compared to a relaxed cocktail party in the US. This sacred French activity typically starts around 6PM and can last anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours.

What to serve to eat?

what food to serve at an Apero

The most common food to serve at is a charcuterie board. 

To make a proper French charcuterie you will need a mix of cured meats, cheeses, baguette bread or crackers. The most popular cured meats include cured ham cured sausage, salami. For the cheese, I typically like to use harder cheeses such as Comte, Parmesan, aged Gouda, and a softer cheese such as Brie. To fill in the board gaps I always add on grapes, tomatoes, olives, berries, or mixed nuts.

In addition to the charcuterie board, I like to offer fresh fruit, chips, pretzels, nuts and anything that would be good to snack on.

What to serve to drink?

Free Spirit Drinks

The best part about throwing an Apéro is deciding what drinks to serve for your guest. An Apéro isn’t about getting drunk, it’s about sharing a nice experience with friends and family. 

The most popular and common drink to serve at your Apéro is Wine and a Negroni. Many of my friends don’t drink alcohol anymore so I always have the option to make a Negroni mocktail. My go to non-alcoholic spirit is called The Free Spirits. They are my personal favorite due to the fact it tastes delicious.

Easy Negroni Mocktail Recipe
1.5 oz The Spirit of Milano
1.5 oz The Spirit of Gin
1.5 oz Cocchi Vermouth di Torino

What to wear

If you are the host, you may be wondering, what is the best thing to wear. Well that’s the beauty of an apéritif, you can wear whatever you want. Typically, I wear something more casual and relax, such as jeans and a nice top. Since it’s an informal event, there is no pressure to get dressed up. It could be fun to dress like a Parisian for the night as well!

What to Bring

Closeup of Free Spirt Mocktails
Free Spirits · The Spirit of Milano

If you are invited as a guest to an Apéro simply ask the host what you can bring, and if they say nothing or anything, then the best idea is to always bring a bottle of wine, or a small treat for the host. Personally, I never like to come empty-handed to someone’s home.

Final Thoughts

What to serve at an Apero

Overall, Apéro’s are all about sharing a lovely experience with the people you care about. This is a cherished experience the Parisians do and it’s something that is easily replicate anywhere in the world. Have you ever thrown an Apéro?

Sincerely Petite in Paris,


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  1. Debra Baker says:

    Thank you for indulging me in my on going quest to learn more about my Paris background! I found out 2- years ago that I have a lot of French in my DNA .
    That makes me very curious about their lifestyle and all things French! We often have get togethers like this described. It brings us all closer together as a whole! It’s simply wonderful! We don’t drink alcoholic beverages, so everyone enjoys each other’s company on the same level. Thanks again for informing those of us who are curious like myself about different peoples traditions and lifestyles. Debbe’ Baker

    1. Diane Marz says:

      Hello Debbe,

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the article! That’s incredible that you have French in your DNA, have you had the opportunity to go to France or Paris yet? Your get-togethers sound amazing!