Spirits Around the World: Aperol

Add Italian flair to your next Celebrate event with Aperol

There are drink trends (remember the pomegranate juice saturation of the mid-aughts?)—and then there are drink explosions. And if you’ve had your eyes open this season, you’ve witnessed one such explosion: the Aperol spritz, the official drink of summer 2018.

Aperol has long been popular in its home country, Italy, and is no stranger to drink menus all over Europe and well-stocked bars around the world. (In fact, Aperol spritzes themselves are so popular in Italy that they’re available as a bottled beverage, sold as Aperol Soda.) It’s one of a family of liquors called apéritifs, traditionally consumed before a meal to stimulate the appetite, though mixologists have long co-opted apéritifs as cocktail ingredients.

This particular apéritif jumped the pond this year in a major way with a push to introduce Americans to its bracing yet refreshing flavors of bitter orange, rhubarb and cinchona, the bittering ingredient in tonic water. Mixed with prosecco and a splash of soda in the now-quintessential spritz, it becomes eminently quaffable. That’s due in part to its comparatively low alcohol content—11 percent—making it a great choice for meeting planners who want just enough alcohol to lubricate attendees but not so much that events turn sloppy. Here are three ways to do just that:

Aperol Spritz

Part of the beauty of the Aperol spritz is that it’s a flexible recipe—even the official sites for Aperol and Campari, the company that produces Aperol, have slightly different recipes. Here’s the Campari Group’s version, which uses slightly less Aperol and is easy to remember, thanks to its 3-2-1 formula.

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • Orange slice
  • 3 parts prosecco
  • 2 parts Aperol
  • 1 dash soda

Instructions

Put ice and orange slice into tumbler. Add, in order, prosecco, Aperol and soda.

Aperol Grapefruit Fizz

Aperol and grapefruit make for a natural pairing, with the bitterness of each component playing off the other to create a delightful tang. Bring a touch of fall to this drink by using cinnamon-infused simple syrup instead of regular simple syrup, adding a cinnamon stick while preparing the syrup (1 stick per cup of sugar). Courtesy New York Magazine; serves 1.

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1 ounce simple syrup (or cinnamon syrup)
  • ½ ounce lemon juice
  • 1½ ounces Aperol

Instructions

Shake and strain liquid ingredients into a highball glass without ice, then top Aperol.

Autumn Aperol

The Aperol spritz might be the drink of summer, but that’s no reason to stop sipping Aperol come Sept. 22. This recipe warms up the flavors of Aperol, rounding them out with the sweetness of cider. Courtesy Food & Wine; serves 1.

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 1 ounce Aperol
  • 3 ounces fresh apple cider
  • ¼ ounce honey syrup (equal parts honey and hot water, cooled to room temperature)
  • Apple slices, for garnish

Instructions

Fill cocktail shaker with ice; add liquid ingredients. Shake and strain into rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with apple slices.