Although there's arguably a time and a place for high-alcohol beverages, for those days when you'd like to have a drink — or three — and still function, it's best to go slow and steady on the booze. Instead of going straight for the mocktails, this is where a spritzer or a spritz come into play.
A spritzer is a mix of equal parts wine and seltzer and soda water, while a spritz is more like a drink with a splash of seltzer. One of the most well known of these aperitif-style cocktails is the Aperol spritz. Read on to learn all about Aperol, the origins of the Aperol spritz and the difference between Aperol and Campari, or jump straight to the Aperol spritz recipe.
Aperol, which has been around since 1919, is a bright orange Italian liqueur. Though its exact recipe is a secret, we do know that Aperol is made from a mix of ingredients that include rhubarb, different types of oranges, herbs and the roots of flowering plants like gentian and cinhona. It's an aperitif, which means it is designed to be consumed before dinner to whet the appetite.
With its combination of fruit and medicinal-style ingredients, Aperol is slightly sweet and pleasantly bitter with a pronounced rhubarb-orange flavor.
Although Aperol and Campari look and taste somewhat similar, can be used fairly interchangeably and are both owned by the Campari company, these two Italian aperitifs have a few major differences. Campari is more bitter, while Aperol skews a tad sweeter. Aperol has a low alcohol content of 11%, whereas the ABV of Campari is closer to wine at 20.5-28.5%. Aperol tends to be lighter in texture and flavor while Campari is stronger with a thicker, more syrupy texture. Campari is most typically used in a negroni, whereas the Aperol spritz is where Aperol shines.
An Aperol spritz is a light, refreshing aperitif cocktail with three simple ingredients: Aperol, prosecco, seltzer and an orange slice. While the Aperol spritz ingredients may be basic, the flavor is not; it is slightly sweet, slightly bitter with a pleasant effervescence and light body. The best prosecco for an Aperol spritz is a dry, rather than a sweet, variety. Look for the word "dry" or "brut" on the bottle.
Even simpler than the ingredients for an Aperol spritz is the recipe. All you have to remember is 3-2-1. That's 3 parts Aperol to 2 parts Prosecco and 1 part seltzer. That makes this recipe incredibly easy to scale up for a crowd, but for one, a good place to start is 3 ounces Aperol, 2 ounces Prosecco and 1 ounce seltzer. Combine those ingredients in a wine glass with plenty of ice, stir well and add an orange slice and you've got yourself an Italian sunset in a glass.
If you like the Aperol spritz and are looking to expand your repertoire, you can also drink Aperol straight, over ice or with a splash of seltzer for an even lighter and lower alcohol easy sipper. You can even use Aperol as a baking ingredient in Aperol spritz bars. And there's also a world beyond Aperol if you're interested in exploring other low-alcohol cocktails, which is a trend that's here to stay.
Step 1: In a glass filled with ice, combine 3 ounces prosecco, 2 ounces aperol and 1 ounce club soda.
Step 2: Mix and garnish with an orange slice.