Sip on a summer classic, the Aperol Spritz. Made with Aperol and prosecco, this ruby beauty of a cocktail is both stunning and crisp.
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Aperol Spritz cocktail recipe
Oh, the Aperol Spritz. Year after year, she’s often considered the drink of the summer.
And for good reason. It’s a little sweet, a little bitter and a lot refreshing thanks to double the bubbles.
There’s a lot to love about this quaffable cocktail — this recipe is one you’re going to come back to year after year, week after week.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- With only three ingredients, the Aperol Spritz is easy to make.
- It’s the perfect cocktail — so refreshing for hot summer days.
- The spritz is a great way to get to know a new category of cocktails and spirits.
Stock up on prosecco so you can make this cocktail whenever you have company. With a vibrant, bright orange color that looks like a sunset, the Aperol Spritz is the ultimate summer cocktail.
What is an Aperol Spritz?
The Aperol Spritz is a bubbly cocktail made with Aperol, prosecco and soda water.
Spritz cocktails are a type of bubbly cocktail from Italy. They are often served as an early evening cocktail throughout the Italian summer, but it is so much more than that.
Technically the Aperol Spritz is known as a Venetian Spritz, which features any bitter spirit (known as an aperitivo in Italian), bubbly prosecco and soda water and is garnished with an orange slice.
The spritz has seen a revival around the world, mainly through a marketing campaign of the spirit company Aperol.
The Aperol Spritz that we know and love was born in the 1950s in Northern Italy, but the roots of this great cocktail go back much further.
History of the Spritz cocktail
A spritz is a form of cocktail, not a singular type of cocktail.
According to Difford’s Guide, the history of the spritz cocktail dates back to the end of the 19th century. Venice was still part of the Austrian empire then.
The name comes from the German word for spray or splash, Spritzen. The people of Venice and the Veneto region, pronounce the word “spritz” as “Spriss.”
Austrian soldiers would drink the wines of the Veneto region, such as Pinot Grigio, Soave and Prosecco. They would dilute them with water to achieve a drink more similar to the beer they were used to: the Spritzer, a drink of equal parts white wine and soda water.
The drink evolved to include aperitivo spirits, which are bitter liqueurs. A few well-known brands of Italian apéritifs include Aperol, Campari, Gran Classico, Select and Cynar.
The Venetian Spritz
The classic Aperol Spritz recipe is a type of Spritz Veneziano, AKA a Venetian Spritz, named for Venice and the Veneto region.
A Venetian Spritz features any bitter spirit (known as an aperitivo in Italian), bubbly prosecco and soda water and has a garnish of an orange slice and sometimes and olive.
The bitter spirit in the Aperol Spritz is an orange-colored and flavored apéritif called Aperol, which was created by Luigi and Silvio Barbieri in the city of Padua in 1919.
You only need to shop for four simple ingredients at the grocery store and liquor store to make this classic Italian cocktail.
I recommend you grab a bottle of Aperol and a few bottles of prosecco so you can enjoy this Aperol Spritz recipe for happy hour all summer long.
The main ingredient of Aperol Spritzes is Aperol, of course. Aperol is an apéritif, which is a type of spirit that is meant to be enjoyed before a meal to whet the appetite.
The word apéritif means “to open,” which is the purpose of the drink: to prepare the body for a meal and the palate for the flavors of dinner. With its lower alcohol content, Aperol is the perfect addition to this refreshing cocktail.
If you’re new to apéritifs, the Aperol Spritz is a great one to help you get to know this amazing class of spirits.
Aperol is different from Campari, another apéritif that is common in cocktails like the Negroni. Campari has a more deep bitter flavor, while Aperol is much lighter. However, Campari and other bitter spirits work fine as Aperol substitutes — this is a spritz after all, and spritzes are flexible!
Bubbly is the next ingredient. Since the spritz is an Italian drink, using dry prosecco — an Italian sparkling wine — is the top choice.
Prosecco is what adds the effervescence that makes this cocktail so light and refreshing.
Freixenet makes a great prosecco you can find at most grocery stores. Another great one is La Marca, which some of my favorite bartenders recommend in this article on Unpretentious Palate.
The last element is soda water. These extra bubbles are what give lightness to this thirst-quenching cocktail, making it light and bright.
Believe it or not, there is a difference between club soda, tonic water, sparkling water and seltzer.
- Club soda is infused with mineral salts for enhanced flavor and fizz.
- Seltzer is made similarly, but doesn’t usually contain the added minerals and has a cleaner, purer taste.
- The flavor of sparkling water, AKA sparkling mineral water, depends on its origin spring’s minerals and trace elements.
- Tonic water is similar to club soda but also has an infusion quinine root and added sweeteners.
My choice for this Aperol Spritz recipe is club soda or seltzer for a plainer flavor that lets the Aperol and prosecco shine.
The classic garnish for an Aperol Spritz is a slice of orange. A navel orange works great, but a Cara Cara orange will bring a bright, fruity flavor that compliments the bitter flavors of the Aperol.
Feel free to have fun with this and try it with clementines, tangerines or blood oranges as seasonal produce changes.
Aperol Spritz glassware
So what do you serve a spritz in for aperitivo hour?
There are also spritz glasses that are designed specifically for spritz cocktails.
Personally, I like to use stemless wine glasses because they are less likely to topple over.
How to make the perfect Aperol Spritz
As a 3-ingredient cocktail, the Aperol Spritz is a classic cocktail that is pretty easy to make. Here’s what to do:
- First, fill a rocks or wine glass with ice.
- Add Aperol and top with prosecco then a splash of soda water. This creates the “sunset” look of the drink.
- Lastly, garnish with an orange slice.
Variations and substitutions
By nature, spritzes have lots of variations. Here are a few to consider:
Frozen Aperol Spritz: Add all the ingredients to a blender with 1 cup ice. Pour into glasses and enjoy immediately. Garnish with an orange slice.
Negroni Spritz: This one combines the negroni with the Aperol Spritz, for a more bitter flavor. Mix Campari or Aperol with sweet vermouth and prosecco.
Sprazzi: This variation on the Aperol Spritz recipe uses Grand Marnier, violet liqueur and grapefruit soda, then topped with prosecco.
Hugo Spritz: This spritz cocktail has a base of prosecco and elderflower liqueur. Top it off with mint leaves and a lime wedge.
What to serve with an Aperol Spritz
This popular cocktail is usually served as a pre-dinner drink, so it makes sense to serve it with some Italian appetizers. Here are a few ideas:
More classic cocktails
Want to learn more classic cocktails? Look no further than these cocktail recipes to get your feet wet:
- 2 ounces Aperol
- 4 ounces prosecco
- 2 ounces club soda
- orange slice, for garnish
- In a rocks or wine glass filled with ice, add Aperol.
- Top with prosecco and club soda. Garnish with an orange slice.
Adapted from Spritz by Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 242Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 8mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 0gSugar: 23gProtein: 0g