Aperol – An Italian Summertime Elixir

Well it’s summer and as we swelter through the dog days of August our thoughts turn to, well, Aperol.  

This is especially true at this time of year in Italy when you see people sitting and chatting on piazzas in Rome, Venice and, well, everywhere sipping festive, bright orange-colored drinks. Most likely, that drink will involve Aperol, a liqueur that is almost as popular in Italy as Prosecco. Aperol is an Italian liqueur made by infusing orange peel and oranges with a subtle blend of bitter and sweet herbs and spices.

Originally created in 1919 at the International Fair in Padova, it quickly became one of Italy’s – and the world's – most popular aperitifs. With its relatively low alcohol content (11 percent), intriguing aromas of orange and tangerine, complex bittersweet taste and its vivacious bright orange Aperol bottle with a glass of Aperol on the rocks.color, Aperol may well be the perfect summertime refresher. It is refreshing, vibrant and convivial.

To serve, simply pour some chilled Aperol over ice in a small tumbler and garnish with an orange or lemon peel. It really can’t get much simpler than that. Because of its complex bittersweet taste, it is also used as an ingredient in cocktails.

Below are some recipes for popular Aperol-based cocktail drinks. However, there is a seemingly endless number of variations of Aperol drink recipes - you are limited only by your imagination.


Aperol Sour

4 parts Aperol liqueur
2 parts lemon juice
1 part sugar syrup
Shake with ice and strain into a small tumbler. Add ice and garnish with a slice of orange.

Aperol Betty

2 parts Aperol liqueur
2 parts orange juice
1 part grapefruit juice
Shake with ice and strain into a tall glass. Add ice and garnish with a
slice of orange.

Aperol Spritz
Glass of Aperol Spritz on luncheon table.

This is Aperol's most popular format and most likely the brightly colored drink you see on luncheon tables throughout Italy in the summer.

All ingredients should be served chilled
3 parts Prosecco
2 parts Aperol 
1 splash of soda
Add a slice of orange as garnish and serve in a tall (chilled) glass as in photo on right.

Aperol Classico

1 part (chilled) Aperol liqueur
A splash of sparkling water
Pour into a small (chilled) tumbler and garnish with an orange rind.

Aperol Pompelmo

1 part Aperol liqueur
2 parts grapefruit juice
Pour into a tall glass over ice and garnish with an orange rind.


©Richard Marcis
Updated June 3, 2017

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