In this post, you'll find the most complete review of Ghia—the delightfully bitter aperitif that instantly evokes the summer feels:
- What is Ghia?
- What’s included in the Ghia Holiday Box Set?
- Tasting notes for Ghia
- How to make a Ghia Spritzer
- Where can I buy Ghia?
- My Overall Recommendation
Aperol has been around for ages, but the Aperol Spritz suddenly became a hit in 2019 due to how instagrammable it was, instantly evoking images of breezy, cheerful summer. Seems like Millennials were a little late to the trend—and potentially susceptible to marketing because Aperol launched a heavy ad campaign in Summer 2018, when the company behind the liqueur decided to bring summer in a glass to America. Soon thereafter, it was the hipster drink of choice in Brooklyn… and well, you know the rest of the story.
I had my first Aperol Spritz when I was studying abroad in London in 2008 and working at a food magazine. While I was there, I learned all sorts of things like how refreshing a Pimm’s Cup could be and as a result, how to hold my liquor at a work function.
Now, with non-alcoholic newcomers like Ghia, that may be less of a worry for those who want summer in a glass without the guilt.
About the Producer: Ghia
Melanie Masarin, a Glossier alumna, launched Ghia in summer 2020 with her flagship product, the OG Ghia Bitter, which quickly obtained a cult following on Instagram due to the bottle and beautiful colors reminiscent of the Italian coastline and a simpler time. Since then they have evolved into a company that makes products inspired by Italy, with a retro flair. Since launching with the original Ghia Aperitif, they have made a couple line extensions to include an olive oil based Ghianduja and mini panettone cake, keeping with the italian and better-for-you themes.
Ghia doesn’t want you to consider the OG Bitter as a less fun Aperol alternative and neither would I! Though it can be used in a similar way, this ready-to-drink concentrate is meant to make mixing your own cocktails less fussy and just as fun with its punchy personality and charming brand. Calling it an Aperol alternative would also sell itself short because it’s got a bit more complexity to the taste as well, especially in the fruit department. Read below for more about how the Ghia OG Bitter actually tastes and how to make a killer drycraft out of it.
Unboxing the Ghia Holiday Gift Box
I purchased the Ghia Giftbox after relentlessly being targeted by Instagram ads, promising that it would be delivered in time for Christmas. I had purchased the Ghia OG Bitter before at a local shop, so I knew that I would be in for a citrusy and delightfully bitter treat coming in the mail. Knowing that the box included three products and a souvenir tin made the price of $83.66 a little easier to swallow, but looking back it seems a little steep for what you get. Of course, it’s a small producer of a premium product that is now a somewhat well known brand that celebrities love, so it kind of makes sense.
Because I’m always wary of purchasing liquids that are shipped to me, I always want to tell you about how it was packed and if I would trust shipping the package over long distances. To my surprise, the box wasn’t too beat up by the time it got to me.
The folks over at Ghia did a great job of taping it securely, of course with branded tape and nothing felt like it was moving around when shaking the box. So on first inspection, everything was secure. Since this was a holiday box that included a souvenir tin, I think this is probably extra secure because of the additional tin that it comes in. They also provided these cardboard belts to make it easy to lift the product out of the box, which was a nice touch!
Shipping score: 5.0
Overall, there is a lot of enjoyable complexity with Ghia. It doesn’t taste like just another juice or mixer. Even though there is fruit juice in Ghia, it doesn’t really read as fruit forward at all. Instead it is intensely aromatic on the palate.
Ghia’s perfume-like aroma comes from the yuzu and elderflower that produce a flavor that is faintly similar to what you get St. Germain but way less sweet.
If you haven’t had yuzu before, it is a small round citrus fruit that is commonly used in Japan and Korea to provide a floral citrus note to many dishes and drinks. It tastes like a cross between a lemon, cumquat, and orange. In the Ghia OG Bitter, it doesn’t really read this way because it’s mixed with other ingredients that round it out, like the the woodsy notes of the rosemary extract.
These floral notes all support the primary flavor which is the bitterness from Gentian root. Gentian is one of the herbs that is commonly used to produce aperitifs like Aperol. The astringency from this herb helps to get the saliva flowing and helps to spark your appetite. So as a result, it’s great to serve this with small nibbles during cocktail hour—should I say drycraft hour—before dinner.
Because many dry-ish drinkers gravitate more towards flavors they are familiar with and naturally want to compare the product with an existing product—especially for products that are positioned as alternatives.
Although the Ghia OG Bitter isn't positioned a non-alcohol Aperol alternative, for all intents and purposes it is.
Ultimately, on Ghia does a pretty good job of being an authentic Aperol alternative, so I'm giving it a score of 4/5.
Drinking The Basic Spritz
Honestly, I was a bit disappointed the first time I drank it based on company’s instructions of diluting the concentrate in a ratio of 1:1 with seltzer like Topo Chico. First off, I felt like a 1:1 ratio was using up the bottle pretty quickly. It’s not exactly wine bottle sized so if I wanted to a few servings out of it, that meant the portions would be really small.
When diluting 1:1, I felt the flavors were a little weak compared to the straight liquid and it lacked the oumf of an alcoholic drink. You can put less seltzer, though if you prefer.
Instead, I would recommend using it in one of our Drycraft Recipes instead. Check out some of my favorites here:
- Immunity Boosting Ghia
- Cranberry Ghia Shrub
Ingredient Call Outs
Like with other non-alcoholic beverages, this drink is very friendly to those with dietary restrictions!
- Only 3g of naturally occurring sugars per serving
- Lactose Free
- Gluten Free
Holiday Treats in this Gift Set
The Panettone and the Ghandujia are nice, but honestly I wouldn’t buy them again.
You know the taste of mass produced bread and pastry that you get from like the Entemmen’s cakes? That’s impression I got from the Panettone (pronounce pan-nay-ton-ne). Maybe it’s the combination of lemon and vanilla or maybe it was the plastic packaging it came in underneath the colorful paper wrapping, but it just didn’t taste fresh. In fact, the date on the package indicated that it had been baked basically a month before I opened it.
The gianduja (pronounced jian-due-ya) is a chocolate hazelnut spread, similar to Nutella. But unlike Nutella which is made with palm oil, Ghia’s version is made with olive oil. It has an intensely nutty flavor, which is enjoyable and isn’t super sweet. But honestly, I don’t eat a lot of sugar—and aren’t we all trying to cut out sugar when we’re seeking these sophisticated drycraft drinks? So for that reason, it’s just sitting in my cupboard.
My ultimate verdict
Buy the Ghia OG Bitter.
Do not buy the Ghia Holiday Box Set.
Where can I buy Ghia?
You can buy Ghia directly via their website or specialty retail stores near you.