Aperol Spritz

What drink is bright orange, bittersweet, and beloved all over the world?

Aperol Spritz
Photo:

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food styling by Lucy Simon

Yield:
1 drink

What Is an Aperol Spritz?

The past century has been a busy one for the iconic orange aperitif, Aperol. First created in 1919 Silvio and Luigi Barbieri, two brothers who wanted to make an aperitif unique to their hometown of Padua, Italy, Aperol’s pleasantly bitter, herbaceous flavor profile quickly became beloved throughout the entire country. Today, people all over the world are most accustomed to seeing the Barbieri brothers’ creation in an Aperol Spritz, which calls for prosecco, soda water, and, of course, Aperol.

Following a well-publicized 2008 acquisition by the Campari Group (which also owns Aperol’s bitter, ruby red cousin, Campari, in addition to brands like Cynar and Amaro Averna), Aperol’s profile stateside skyrocketed in popularity. According to a 2019 report from the International Wine and Spirits Record (IWSR), the aperitif ranked 20th on its list of fastest growing spirits brands in 2019. The Aperol Spritz is, by and large, a crowd favorite during warmer weather — perhaps a result of its cheery orange hue or a subconscious association between summertime and the Italian coast — but it can be enjoyed year-round.

Twists on the Aperol Spritz

Typically served in a stemmed wine glass filled with ice along with an orange wedge garnish, it's best to use brut (or dry) prosecco for this drink, which already has plenty of sweetness from its eponymous ingredient. While the original recipe calls for a 3:1 ratio, feel free to toy with the ingredients — for a more bitter flavor profile, add more Aperol, and for a less-boozy spritz, opt for more soda water. The Aperol Spritz can also be enjoyed as a frozen drink, as evidenced by Editor-at-Large Justin Chapple’s recipe that gets an extra kick of orange flavor thanks to the addition of Cointreau. 

How to Drink an Aperol Spritz

Seasonality aside, an Aperol Spritz was invented as an aperitivo, which are typically enjoyed before a heavy meal. Food writer Rebecca Holland explains that “aperitivo comes from the Latin word aperire, which means to open...a spritz, or something including a bitter alcohol, is traditional and helps with the stomach opening.” If you order an Aperol Spritz at an Italian café, you can expect to receive a charming bowl of olives, salumi, or crackers to pre-game the main meal. The Aperol Spritz is about the journey, not the destination. Cin-cin!

Ingredients

Aperol Spritz Recipe

  • 3 ounces Aperol

  • 3 ounces prosecco

  • 1 ounce soda water

  • 1 orange slice (for garnish)

Directions

  1. Fill a stemmed wine glass with ice, and add 3 ounces of Aperol, followed by 3 ounces of prosecco.
  2. Top with 1 ounce of soda water (or enough to fill to the rim of the glass).
  3. Garnish with an orange slice.
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