Last Updated on October 14, 2023 by Leah Hall
A classic Italian cocktail, try this perfectly refreshing Aperol Spritz Aperitivo!
In these waning days of summer, we are still enjoying warm weather drinks, so we figured we better share another classic, the Aperol Spritz. The Aperol Spritz Aperitivo, is a bubbly cocktail that is refreshing and the right amount of bitter flavors and sweet at the same time. The history of this drink starts after WWI in Italy, and this simple drink became super popular before and after WWII.
Jay’s parents returned from an Italian trip obsessed with the Aperol Spritz, which they said were served nearly everywhere they went. It is the national drink of Italy. Of course the first thing they did when they got back was to find a bottle of Aperol to make us a Spritz! Jay and I had been making these for a couple of years, but we won’t miss up an opportunity to enjoy the bubbly drink!
There is nothing complicated about this popular pre-dinner drink. It is three simple ingredients mixed together and topped with ice. No shaking required. Plus, this low-alcohol content sip means you can start drinking early and still make it to dinner!
It’s light, bittersweet, and we think tastes like summer in a glass. It’s definitely a warm-weather drink, and it just might become your favorite, too! Make sure to try our Aperol drinks-spritz variations like Strawberry Aperol Spritz, our Watermelon Aperol Spritz, and our Winter Aperol Spritz, as well!
Aperol Spritz History
The first Spritz was created in the 1800s in Veneto, Italy. The Habsburg Empire had taken over the area. The soldiers, merchants and diplomats became accustomed to drinking wine in the taverns. They were not familiar with the variety of wine from Veneto, and the alcohol content was higher than they were used to.
The Germans started to ask the local hosts to spray (spritzen, in German) a drop of water into the wine to make them lighter; the original spritz was made of sparkling white wine or red wine diluted with water.
During the 1920s in Venice or Padua, the spritz was mixed with local bitters, which were usually mixed with soda and ice. Aperol was started in Padua in 1919 by the Barbieri brothers, Luigi and Silvio.
The original recipe has supposedly remained the same over time but it was not until the 1970s that the modern spritz recipe started with prosecco instead of still wine. Also known as Spritz Veneziano, because it looks like a sunset and tastes like summer.
Modern Aperol Spritz
In the 1950s the Aperol Spritz Aperitivo was born when the recipe was featured in a national Italian ad campaign. The Aperol Spritz is a combination of Aperol and Prosecco, a sparkling Italian white wine. It is usually served during Aperitivo Hour, which means it is served before the meal, to whet the appetite and get you ready for your meal.
Plus, this thirst-quenching cocktail is low in alcohol content, making it a great before dinner drink, or for Happy Hour. The drink has become synonymous with the summer months, not only in Italy, the United States, and the rest of the world!
What Ingredients are Needed for the Aperol Spritz?
Just a few simple ingredients are all you need to make this classic cocktail at home, just remember 3-2-1! Three ounces of sparkling wine or Prosecco, two ounces of Aperol, and one ounce of soda water. Combine them all in a glass with ice, no shaking required.
- Aperol – Only Aperol will do in an Aperol Spritz Aperitivo! Aperol is a vibrant orange color Italian apéritif. The brand describes the flavors as, “zesty orange with complex herbal scents harmonized with a touch of vanilla.” Flavors range from gentian, cinchona, rhubarb and others, and has a bittersweet taste.
- Prosecco – Prosecco is an white Italian sparkling wine similar to Spanish Cava or French Champagne, and it is bubbly and crisp. We recommend a dry (brut) Prosecco so the cocktail doesn’t turn out too sweet.
- Club Soda – This gives more fizz to the refreshing cocktail. Club soda or unflavored sparkling water work great!
- Orange Slice – for garnish, but the fresh orange slice gives a great splash of fresh orange juice to the drink. The classic Italian garnish is green olives, their salty flavor goes well with the bittersweet flavor of the Aperol.
How to Make Aperol Spritz Aperitif?
Wine cocktails, like this classic Aperol Spritz recipe, are perfect for warm weather and fun to drink outside. The main ingredients are 2 parts Aperol, 3 parts of Prosecco, and a splash of soda water (1 part).
- First, fill a glass with ice. Our preference is a large wine goblet.
- Then, add Aperol (a classic Italian bitter liqueur) to the glass as well as sparkling wine.
- Top with club soda.
- Garnish with an orange slice or two. Just add this orange garnish right into the cocktail.
- Make it less bitter by using less parts of Aperol and more Prosecco.
- Make it less boozy by using more club soda and less Aperol and Prosecco.
What is Aperol?
Aperol is a bright orange color. It is among many bitter liqueurs from Italy, and is flavored with bitter oranges and herbs. It tastes and smells like Campari, but Aperol has less alcohol. Campari is more bitter and a darker color.
Aperol is a flavor blend of zesty citrus, aromatic herbs and sweet vanilla. A perfect aperitif that you can have before a meal, it is bittersweet, fruity, refreshing, and fairly low in alcohol content, all topped with bubbly wine.
An aperitivo is meant to stimulate the appetite and is often fruity in nature.
One question we get asked a lot is if Aperol should be refrigerated? Not necessarily, because it is lower in alcohol content. To make it last longer, you can store it in the refrigerator. If you are planning to sip these regularly through summer, don’t bother. There should be no loss of quality even up to a year at room temp.
What to Serve with Your Aperol Spritz
Since Aperitifs are designed to be served before a meal to stimulate the appetite, typically they are lightly alcoholic and more dry than sweet.
Serve your Italian Spritz with Italian appetizers. Keep in mind Aperol is bitter. So, salty, creamy and fatty, or sweet foods as small plates go well.
Here are some pairing ideas:
- Cheese: Goat cheese, fresh mozzarella, or burrata
- Bread: crusty bread toasted with olive oil
- Fresh fruit: grapes, berries, apples
Tips & Tricks
- Pitcher Aperol Spritzes – If you have a lot to make at once for a party, this may be the perfect solution. Just use the 3-2-1 method and use cups instead of ounces for your measurements. Use 3 cups Prosecco, 2 cups Aperol and 1 cup club soda. Stir slightly and then pour into a wine glass filled with ice. Don’t prepare too far in advance or you will lose the effervescence you want in this Aperol Spritz Aperitivo. Try our Pineapple Aperol Spritz, too!
- Cold Ingredients – make sure the Prosecco and Soda Water are cold before making the drink, so it stays colder longer.
- Ice – there is a theory that adding ice at the end, instead of the beginning keeps the drink extra bubbly. So try it, and see if it does! Also, if you want to not water down your drink, make some Prosecco ice cubes instead of water! Simply fill an ice cube tray with Prosecco and freeze.
- Garnish – a classic choice is an orange slice, or briny olives like they do in Northern Italy. You can also use a lemon slice or grapefruit slice too.
- For a Crowd – if you don’t want to do the Pitcher Spritz, set up an Aperol Spritz bar. Everyone can make their own. Set out orange slices, wine glasses and a bucket of ice cubes. Jiggers for Aperol, Prosecco and Soda Water. To save some Prosecco, feel free to use individual sized bottles.
- Measurements – in recent years, there has been some talk about what makes the perfect Aperol Spritz. Some cocktail bars use different ways to make this easy cocktail, rather than the traditional method. As far as summer cocktails go, these Italian drinks can be up for interpretation. There is some call to have equal parts prosecco and Aperol, and then just a small part soda water. Such as: 3 ounces Prosecco, 3 ounces Aperol and 1 ounce soda water. But, they all call for a slice of orange!
- Aperol Substitute – if you don’t have Aperol, Campari is good sub.
- Prosecco Substitute – champagne is probably the obvious choice, but cava is great too.
- Soda Water Substitute – you can use sparkling water or tonic water.
Liven up your next gathering with an Aperol Spritz Aperitivo. Easy to make, easy to drink!
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Like this recipe? Try these below, too!
Other Aperol Spritz Cocktails
- Blackberry Aperol Spritz – Vindulge
- Strawberry Rose Aperol Spritz – My Kitchen Love
- Grapefruit Aperol Sparkling Cocktails – Platings and Pairings
- Venetian Aperol Spritz – Little Sugar Snaps
- Cranberry Aperol Spritz
Other Aperol Cocktails
- Aperol Tequila Twist – Little Sugar Snaps
- Aperol Punch – Taste and See
- Hibiscus Aperol Negroni – A Life Well Consumed
- Aperol Cosmopolitan – Basil and Bubbly
An Italian classic cocktail, perfect for brunch or before dinner. This Aperol spritz recipe is a great toast to Italy.
Aperol Spritz Cocktail
- 2 ounces Aperol
- 1 ounce soda water
- 3 ounces Prosecco
Mix all ingredients over ice and enjoy!
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 564Total Fat: 0.2gSaturated Fat: 0.1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 103.4gFiber: 0gSugar: 103.4gProtein: 3.1g
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