By Carey Jones and John D. McCarthy
Updated September 22, 2016
Aperol and Añejo
© Carey Jones

With its gentle orange, bittersweet flavor and brilliant color, Aperol is a no-brainer for bright summer drinks (And we’ve made quite a few ourselves). After all, its the aperitif is best known as part of a bubbly, low-alcohol spritz, and it’s easy to pair with citrus and vodka and gin.

Many drinkers only buy Aperol for garden parties or warm-weather brunches. But the amaro, when paired with the right flavors, can translate very well to wintertime drinks, too. Here are three of our favorite Aperol cocktails for after the summer has passed.

Easy: Aperol & Añejo

An Aperol-prosecco Spritz is as refreshing as they come. But here, we’re adding a little depth with a good dark rum. (Brugal Añejo is a personal favorite.) As easy to make as a spritz, but with an underlying warmth that’s more suited to the season.

Instructions: In a Champagne flute, pour 1 ounce of añejo rum, 1/2 ounce of Aperol, and 4 ounces of sparkling wine. Garnish with an orange twist.

Intermediate: Aperol Toddy

Wait, a toddy? Usually, toddies are the sole province of dark spirits, whiskey and brandy chief among them. But by pairing Aperol with Irish whiskey, you get the former’s vibrance and citrus flavors, balanced by the latter’s weight and strength. As with any toddy, garnishes are essential.

Instructions: In a heat-safe glass, combine 1 ounce of Irish whiskey (we’re fans of Jameson Black Barrel here), 1/2 ounce of Aperol, 1/2 a teaspoon of honey, and 3 ounces of hot, almost-boiling water. Stir until the honey dissolves. Then, the garnishes: squeeze in 1 lemon wedge and drop it in, along with 3 allspice berries, a coin-sized piece of orange peel studded with 3 cloves, and a big cinnamon stick.

Advanced: Autumn Aperol

Sometimes, an ingredient like Aperol doesn’t steal the show; it’s an intriguing, “what is that?” supporting player to other flavors. That’s the role it servers in this cider-bourbon drink.

Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine 2 ounces of bourbon (Wild Turkey 101 is great here), 1 ounce of Aperol, and 3 ounces of fresh apple cider. Add 1/4 ounce of honey syrup (an equal part of honey cut with hot water). Shake all that up and strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a few apple slices.