Your next visit to Rome isn't complete without trying this classic Italian cocktail.
Think of classic Italian beverages, and right after wine, the Aperol Spritz should pop into your mind. Neon orange, bubbly and the epitome of refreshing, this classic Italian cocktail—made with Aperol (Campari’s slightly less-bitter cousin) mixed with Prosecco—is traditionally served for aperitivo over ice with a long straw for easy sipping. Rome is best enjoyed with an Aperol Spritz in hand; it's perfect as a before-dinner cocktail, a during-dinner cocktail and an after-dinner cocktail, and seems tailored to be the ideal day-drinking cocktail. Just be careful: This mischievous beverage goes down so easy that you might only remember it’s alcoholic after about three.
There are bars on every block in Rome, all probably serving the city’s signature drink. Where are the best places to watch Rome go by through an orange-colored glass? We’ve got you covered. Here are have places you should try the Aperol Spritz in Rome right now.
The cozy bar inside the Hassler Hotel, which famously overlooks the Spanish Steps, is decked out in dark cherry wood and plush matching leather sofas. Murals of Renaissance Rome hang on the walls, and the small bar is tended by award-winning mixologists—the space, which seats ten people at most, is the embodiment of luxury. The spritz they make here is probably the lightest and most refreshing variety I tried in Rome, but beware—it’ll go to your head quickly if you’re not careful.
I had one of the best cocktails I’ve—dare I say—ever had at this tiny bar in Piazza di Pietra, which overlooks an ancient temple of which only the massive columns remain. Here, you’ll find a more creative spin on classic cocktails, including the spritz: Their version is made with ginger beer and rabarbaro (an Italian rhubard-flavored amaro), as well as the classic ingredients. It's a must-visit for anyone interested in craft cocktails or for those looking for a classy spot for pre-dinner drinks—or if you’re anything like me, you can stop by around noon for a drink at the empty bar before the lunch rush. Around 12:15 p.m., Salotta42 opens their self-service buffet.
Bar Frattina—or any of the other casual outdoor cafés in the city
After a long day of touring the city’s landmarks, I began to walk back to the Spanish Steps. My ankles felt swollen; I was in desperate need of somewhere quiet to sit and recover. I turned down Via Frattina and passed by this café, which boasted rows of outdoor seating and heat lamps. I picked a table on the sidewalk, ordered the spritz, which came with aperitivo snacks like olives and bread, and enjoyed the people watching while my feet took a break from walking. The spritz tasted fine—it’s a hard drink to mess up—but it’s the atmosphere that makes these cafés so appealing. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more rejuvenating experience after a long day of being a tourist than sitting under the warming lamps, snacking on olives and sipping your drink as the city goes by around you.
When a friend and I stopped by this deli slash restaurant at 12, a full thirty minutes before tables began to open up, the hostess only had one reservation left. I ordered the cacio e pepe (another classic Roman dish) and paired it with their version of the spritz, the strongest I had the pleasure of trying during my stay. It went straight my head, giving me a light, pleasant buzz as I enjoyed my last meal in Rome. Still, the as-close-as-you-can-get-to-perfect pasta is the real reason to stop by. The restaurant itself feels exclusive in its small size, and we were surrounded by locals—always a good sign.
Freni e Frizioni
Our digital restaurant editor, Maria Yagoda, recommends this casual, sometimes-crowded spot in Trastrevere. Located on the river, with plentiful outdoor seating, you get a massive buffet of aperitivo snacks with your drink, along with salad and bruschetta on the menu. It’s a phenomenal deal, and while the drink itself probably tastes like many other spritzes you could find in the area, the lively atmosphere at Freni e Frizioni should be the reason you stop in.