Learn how to make a classic Italian cocktail, the Aperol Spritz.
In this article you'll find the original recipe 3-2-1 and 2 easy variations, one without Prosecco and a modern one.
Note: All three Aperol Spritz recipes are in ml and cups/tablespoons for easier measurements.
What is Aperol
Aperol is an Italian aperitif with scents of bitter orange and rhubarb as the dominant flavors and other herb infusions that complete its character.
It has a distinctive bright orange color, and the taste starts sweet but ends with a pleasant bitterness.
What is Aperol Spritz
Aperol Spritz is an Italian drink and according to foundinitaly.com it originated in the Veneto region of northern Italy in 1919.
It was invented as a means to combat the heat and humidity of Italy’s summer months. It became popular among people who wanted something light to sip on before dinner, and today it's one of the most favored summer cocktail recipes.
If you ask me, making an Aperol Spritz cocktail is probably the best way you can use a bottle of Aperol.
Aperol vs Campari
The two drinks have some similarities (they’re both infusions of fruit and herbs in a bitter liqueur) but they're not the same.
Campari has a heavier, rich wood-rhubarb-floral flavor profile with 22% ABV approximately (this depends on the country in which it is being sold). Campari is used for this simple Negroni cocktail recipe.
Aperol is lighter with mandarin and orange peel notes, higher sugar content and approximately half the alcohol (11% ABV). It also has less bitter flavor than Campari.
If you only have Campari, you can use it instead of Aperol to make a Spritz cocktail.
If you want to make the classic Aperol spritz recipe at home, you'll need the following simple ingredients:
- Soda water
- Ice cubes
- Orange slices or orange peel for a traditional garnish
For the 3-2-1 recipe the ratios are 3 parts Prosecco (90ml), 2 parts Aperol (60ml) and 1 part soda water (30ml).
However, many times I adjust the recipe to my personal taste and use just a splash of club soda or I omit it completely, because I find that the soda water weakens the flavor of this refreshing drink.
Making this Italian apéritif only requires having the ingredients and the serving glass. No shaking and no using special cocktail equipment. The steps are:
1. Twist the orange peel inside the glass in order to release its essential oils. You can also gently rub it on the inside of the glass.
2. Pour the Prosecco, the Aperol, and the soda water in the glass and stir very gently.
3. Fill the glass with ice cubes and garnish with an orange slice.
A secret for extra flavor: Twist a piece of orange peel inside the glass and gently rub it on the interior of the glass. The essential oils from the peel will give extra flavor to your drink.
Have all the ingredients chilled. This will help the drink stay cold for longer time and the ice won't melt quickly, diluting your cocktail.
Garnish with a slice of orange or a piece of orange peel. It makes a difference!
Don't use an already opened bottle of Prosecco. If the Prosecco has been opened for more than a day, it will probably be less fizzy and less flavorful.
A secret for more bubbles: Pour the liquids first, add the ice at the end. Most bartenders pour the drink over ice because that way it runs across the surface of the ice and cools faster (so your drink is colder).
However, this does two things. Firstly it creates a thermal shock to the sparkling drink and secondly it creates more surface for the carbon dioxide to accumulate and form bubbles.
Both these things result in less bubbles in the finished drink. So add the ice at the end!
The best Aperol substitute when making this popular cocktail is Campari.
Campari has similar flavors and it's just as easy to find in a liquor store as Aperol. In this case your cocktail will probably be a Campari Spritz or a Spritz Veneziano (though Spritz Veneziano has equal parts Prosecco, Campari and soda water).
Prosecco is an Italian wine controlled by DOC or DOCG and it's usually spumante (sparkling) or frizzante (semi-sparkling). You can read more details in the article what is Prosecco from visitproseccoitaly.com.
A popular Prosecco substitute for Aperol Spritz is a sparkling dry white wine. Champagne is the most obvious choice (it doesn't have to be an expensive one) but other dry white sparkling wines from any region of the world are just as fine.
If you like a sweeter aperitif you can try Moscato D’Asti which is a sweet Italian Sparkling wine. You can find more information about Moscato D'Asti and other wines in this article: Mediterranean sweet dessert wines.
Instead of soda water you can use sparkling water or Seltzer. Their differences are minimal. Tonic water can also be used if that's all you have.
Aperol Spritz without Prosecco.
As mentioned in the Substitutions section, any Sparkling white wine will do. And I say sparkling, because you can't have a Spritz without the bubbles.
Choose a dry one for a similar taste (such as Champagne or Spanish Cava), or a sweet (like Moscato D' Asti) for a richer, more sweet version. The ratios:
- 3 parts sparkling white wine
- 2 parts Aperol
- Ice cubes
- Orange slices or orange peel for garnish
I have to confess that I prefer the version with Moscato D' Asti even more than the classic recipe!
Modern Aperol Spritz recipe
Aperol published a new recipe which highlights the character of this aperitif. It’s nothing much complicated.
The ingredients stay the same but the proportions are slightly different, with equal parts Aperol and Prosecco and a dash of soda water.
- 3 parts Prosecco
- 3 parts Aperol
- A splash of soda water
Aperol Spritz will pair well with salty snacks like salted roasted peanuts, potato chips, pop corn, and green olives. Because of the bittersweet flavor, it goes well with goat cheese and spicy dishes like Thai and Indian cuisine. It will also pair perfectly with the following:
Similar Spritz recipes
- The Venetian Spritz, incorporating bitter liqueur Select, Aperol, Campari or Cynar (recipe from stevethebartender.com.au)
- The Lambrusco Spritz, incorporating Amaro and Lambrusco wine (recipe from giadzy.com)
- The La Quebrada Spritz, incorporating mezcal and grapefruit juice (recipe from punchdrink.com)
If you're a wine lover, you may also like this Chenin Blanc vs Chardonnay wine - A comparison guide.
Aperol Spritz recipe (classic + 2 easy variations)
For the classic recipe 3-2-1
- 90 ml Prosecco (¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons)
- 60 ml Aperol (¼ cup)
- 30 ml soda water (2 Tablespoons)
- ice cubes
- Orange slice and orange peel
- Twist the orange peel inside the glass in order to release its essential oils. You can also gently rub it on the inside of the glass.
- Pour the Prosecco, the Aperol, and the soda water in the glass and stir very gently.
- Fill the glass with ice cubes and garnish with an orange slice.
- 90ml sparkling white wine
- 60ml Aperol
- Ice cubes
- An orange slice.
- 90ml Prosecco
- 90ml Aperol
- A splash of soda water
- Ice cubes
- An orange slice
A bottle of Aperol has 11% alcohol content just like most Prosecco.
Since Aperol spritz is mainly made from these ingredients with the addition of some soda and ice, the alcohol content is even less than 11%.
That's why it's safe to say that this is a low-alcohol cocktail.
A tall balloon or large wine glass approximately 380-420 ml is recommended.
In Italy, an aperitivo is the drink you have before a meal. The word is derived from the Latin "aperire" which means “to open”, meaning to stilmulate your appetite before dinner.
The experience of aperitivo is part of the Italian tradition and according to goaheadtours.com the aperitivo hour is between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. During this time the Italians have the chance to unwind nd socialize before dinner while sipping refreshing drinks.
Aperol spritz is ideal as a late afternoon drink on a warm summer day but that shouldn't stop you from enjoying it at a later hour after dinner or even serve it with brunch.