Once enjoyed exclusively in its native Italy, the Aperol spritz has become world-famous over the last couple of decades for its powerfully refreshing qualities, bright color, lower alcohol content, and overall simplicity. If you’re hunting for a poolside pour or perfect porch sipper, look no further than this light, colorful summer drink that’s as easy to assemble as it is to swig.
Aperol is a vibrant orange apéritif or aperitivo with roots in Padua, Italy, originally enjoyed before a meal to stimulate the appetite—though it can also be beneficial as a digestif after a meal. Its signature bitter flavor comes from a combination of aromatic ingredients like burnt orange, rhubarb, and gentian, and it packs in a little more sweetness and slightly less of a boozy punch than its crimson cousin, Campari. In fact, Aperol is made by Gruppo Campari, which produces the ruby-hued star of the Negroni, Boulevardier, and Jungle Bird cocktails.
Aperol’s bitter qualities make it ideal for mixing into drinks and punches, but this liqueur is most popular mixed with prosecco over a few ice cubes in a large wine glass and garnished with an orange slice for a classic Aperol spritz. The prosecco’s sweetness and lively fizz helps temper Aperol’s sharpness for better palatability among those less-accustomed to bitter flavors. I usually grab a bottle between $10 and $15, since it will be mixed. Adding a splash of soda water before serving is traditional for this lower-alcohol cocktail, but optional. If you’re looking for a stronger sip with a more vibrant orange color, simply omit.
I like this in a very large wine glass with lots of ice on a hot day (and don't skip the sunscreen!) —Marian Bull
Watch This Recipe
a few large ice cubes
1 1/2 ounces
orange wedge or twist, to garnish
In This Recipe
Pour the Aperol over ice cubes in a large wine glass, tumbler, or mason jar.
Top with about 3 ounces of Prosecco or until the mixture is a color that makes you happy.
Garnish with orange, and serve. Be sure to have extra orange slices on hand—you're going to want a second.