Mix up a refreshing Italian Aperol spritz cocktail with only three simple ingredients. The bitter notes of Aperol are perfect to sip on during a hot summer day.
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After spending time attending culinary school in Italy, I familiarized myself with many different spritzes. Using that as inspiration, I went home dreaming about Aperol spritzes. I knew I had to make my rendition of this classic Italian cocktail.
This drink is iconic in Italy not only because of the incredible marketing efforts from the Campari company but also because the Aperol spritz is a staple in bars all around. This is one of the best drinks to enjoy during the heat of the summer due to its light and refreshing characteristics but it is delicious year-round too.
What You'll Learn In This Recipe
- The essential ingredients you'll need for the best Aperol spritz.
- A simple yet elegant spritz garnish.
- The classic spritz ratio and why this recipe strays away from it.
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Ingredients You Need
Check out the few, yet key, Aperol spritz ingredients that you'll need.
Aperol liqueur: Developed by the Barbieri brothers in 1919, the duo (Luigi and Silvio) spent roughly 7 years experimenting before developing the vibrant orange color alcohol we know and enjoy today. They created a liqueur with an extremely unique bittersweet flavor that is nearly incomparable. With heavy amounts of orange flavor, it is no surprise why people love this liqueur so much.
Chilled prosecco: Prosecco is the sparkling wine of choice in Italy, with over half a billion bottles of prosecco sold in recent years, its popularity is undeniable. It's a light, fresh (acidic), and citrusy wine with notable hints of fruit. Something this refreshing and fruity is guaranteed to pair beautifully with Aperol. Be sure to chill your prosecco before adding it to your spritz to achieve the most refreshing result.
Soda water: Traditionally, soda water is the only source of bubbles in a spritz cocktail. Starting with northern Italian soldiers adding soda water to white wine in an attempt to make it more refreshing and less alcoholic, soda water is more classic to a spritz than Aperol itself.
Soda water is used to give the cocktail some extra fizz without adding a new flavor to the drink. If you want a more alcoholic drink, feel free to substitute the soda water for prosecco. Just like with the prosecco, if you want an extra crisp and cold drink, use soda water that has chilled in the fridge for a little while.
Soda water is a generic term for any sort of plain sparkling or carbonated water. As long as you see that the label says club soda, seltzer water, or soda water it will work for this recipe. I do not recommend using tonic water as a substitute for soda water because it has a different taste.
Orange Slice: A fresh orange slice has become the undisputed garnish of choice in an Aperol spritz. It only makes sense to pair fresh orange with an orange-flavored liqueur. The orange slice also helps brighten the drink and emphasizes the fresh and light-tasting nature of this cocktail.
How To Make This Recipe
Not only does this recipe call for just a handful of ingredients, but you’ll be able to whip this classic Aperol spritz recipe up in just a few minutes.
1. The first thing you're going to want to do is grab a clean wine glass. In this glass add a scoop of ice. If you feel it's particularly hot out and/or you would like a colder drink, add more ice.
Once the ice is added, pour in your Aperol liqueur.
If you want to guarantee a super cold cocktail, chill your wine glass before making the spritz. To do this, place your wine glass in the freezer for about 30 minutes before you plan to make your drink.
2. With the Aperol in, you can now top your drink with prosecco and a splash of club soda or soda water.
3. When the bubbles have been added, give the cocktail a good stir with a bar spoon to ensure that all the flavors are mixed well.
This style of cocktail-making is known as the build-up method (no shaking required). This is the simplest drink to make, all you have to do is ‘build up’ your drink by adding in the different ingredients. Stir it and you’re ready to go.
The original recipe for a spritz is 3 parts prosecco, 2 parts Aperol, and 1 part soda water. In this recipe, I tweaked that ratio a bit to achieve a slightly less bitter and better-balanced cocktail.
With that being said, it is important to taste your drink before you serve it. Tasting will allow you to understand if you want to adjust the sweetness level or add in a bit more of one ingredient.
4. Lastly, you have the option to garnish with your orange slice. Gently slide the slice of orange into the drink. With the orange in, you’re ready to sit back and sip on a classic Aperol spritz cocktail.
- Want to serve this Italian Aperol spritz for aperitivo (apéritif)? This is a drink enjoyed before a meal to stimulate your palate and appetite. Fill up a few bowls with potato chips, nuts, and some tasty olives, and pair these snacks with your spritz.
- Optionally, for a stronger spritz, add 1 ounce or 30 ml of vodka. As long as you don't mind the taste of vodka, this is a great option.
Yes, the Aperol spritz originates from the region of Veneto, with the liqueur originating from the province of Padua (very close to Venice).
Yes, you can enjoy Aperol spritzes whenever you please but traditionally this cocktail is meant to be enjoyed before dinner (since it's low ABV), not during it. You'll often find many people drinking them in the late-afternoon, as well.
To make your spritz less bitter, use less Aperol or substitute the soda water for a lemon-lime soda or flavored sparkling water. All of these options will cut down on the bitter taste.
More Italian Spritz Recipes
Italian Aperol Spritz (3 Ingredients)
- 2 ounces Aperol liqueur
- 4 ounces chilled prosecco
- 1 ounce chilled soda water
- orange slice for garnish (optional)
- Fill a wine glass with ice.
- Add Aperol, prosecco, and soda water. Stir well using a bar spoon.
- Optionally, garnish with orange wedge.