If you’re going to a cool restaurant or bar, they’ll probably have a bottle of Aperol sitting on the shelf. But how often do you actually see that bottle being used?
Come to think of it, how many Aperol cocktails can you think of that aren’t an Aperol spritz? For many of us — even experienced bartenders and at-home mixologists — not even one cocktail comes to mind. It’s time to give Aperol the moment in the sun that it deserves!
Aperol is a delicious apéritifif that tastes great on its own in a spritz and as an ingredient in many cocktails. To give you a little bit of inspiration, we’ve put together some of our favorite Aperol cocktails for any occasion. Salute!
What Is Aperol?
Aperol is most certainly the most famous of the Italian apéritififs, known for its piercing orange color. Aperol is a bitter apéritif made with a liquor base rather than a wine base, unlike some other apéritifivos.
Aperol is then flavored with several herbs and fruits. While the exact recipe is a closely guarded secret, Aperol is known for its herbaceous notes, from the gentian, rhubarb, and cinchona to its bittersweet orange finish.
Aperol was first invented in 1919 and soared to popularity post-WWII in Italy, quickly becoming the country's favorite apéritifif. Aperol is similar to Campari (another popular Italian apéritifif) but clocks in at only 11% ABV, half that of Campari. Less ABV means less morning-after hangovers and a more casual sipping experience — sign us up!
Today, Aperol is one of the most popular apéritififs in the world. In fact, the Aperol Spritz is a classic summer cocktail across Italy, Europe, and the United States, thanks to its refreshing, fruity, and fun vibes.
What Are the Most Popular Aperol Cocktails?
Aperol is fun, delicious, and surprisingly versatile, as you are about to see. Here are our favorite Aperol cocktails that you’ll love to make (almost as much as you’ll love drinking them).
1. The Aperol Spritz
The Aperol Spritz is by far the most popular Aperol-based cocktail, and it’s a springtime classic in Italy, Europe, and the United States.
The Aperol Spritz is such a wonderful drink because of its versatility and simplicity — you almost always have the ingredients you need on hand. By making tiny ingredient swaps, you can craft an entire range of drinks and flavors from a few simple spirits.
- 2 Ounces of Aperol
- Prosecco, Champagne, Bubbles, or anything else with a little sparkle
In a wine glass, champagne flute, or other glass, combine your Aperol and top it off with prosecco, champagne, sparkling wine, or club soda to taste. Serve and enjoy.
We find that using tonic waters is a great complement to the bright, fruity, and bitter flavors of the Aperol, much like a gin and tonic. The Aperol Spritz is super refreshing and light, which is probably why it has become a warm weather, mid-afternoon staple throughout Italy and the world.
2. The Bird of Paradise
The Bird of Paradise is a twist on a tiki classic with a fun history, The Jungle Bird. The Jungle Bird is a Campari-based drink that was by bartender Jeffrey Ong at the bar in the Kuala Lumpur Hilton in the 1970s.
The Bird of Paradise is almost an exact recreation of the Jungle Bird using Aperol, which further lightens and brightens the drink. There are also a few substitutions and swaps you can play around with to make your Bird of Paradise even more of a tropical dream.
- 1 Ounce of Blackstrap Rum
- 1 Ounce of Aperol
- 1 Ounce of Pineapple Juice
- ¾ Ounce of Lime Juice
- ¾ Ounce of Demerara Syrup
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine rum, Aperol, pineapple juice, lime juice, and demerara syrup and shake for at least thirty seconds — until the shaker has noticeably chilled. Strain into a tiki glass filled with shaved, crushed, or pebbled ice, and serve with a straw and pineapple slice for garnish.
The Bird of Paradise’s blackstrap rum does a lot to carry that tiki vibe with its rich and funky rum flavors.
You can also play around with replacing your Aperol with other apéritififs (like our Haus apéritififs) to get different fun and funky flavors mixed up in this delicious tiki cocktail. With our Spiced Cherry apéritifif, the drink takes on a new cherry tartness that goes well with the drink’s tiki flavors.
3. The Say Anything
The Say Anything cocktail sounds fun, light, and flirty — but boy oh boy does she have a wild side. The Say Anything cocktail tastes like the perfect rom-com, a little sweet, a little bitter, and a little spicy.
This is a simplified version of the original cocktail, the creation of another Brooklyn-based bartender named Ivy Mix. Ivy’s original recipe calls for a whopping twelve ingredients, including specially infused tequilas. This recipe may be brilliant, but it can be a big ordeal for most home bartenders.
Our concoction brings the same fruity, watermelon-forward flavor as the original, with a hot, floral, and Aperol-infused bitter punch holding it all together.
- One Ounce of Tequila
- One Ounce of Aperol
- One Ounce of Haus Grapefruit Jalapeno apéritifif
- One Ounce of Simple Syrup
- Two Ounces of Watermelon Juice
- One Ounce of Lime Juice
- Mint Leaves
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine your tequila, Aperol, Haus Grapefruit Jalapeno apéritifif, simple syrup, watermelon juice, and lime juice. Shake until chilled for at least thirty seconds. Strain and serve in a chilled coupe glass with a salted rim. Garnish with a few mint leaves floating on the surface.
This is a sort of watermelon-y, tequila-y, bitter-y, spicy, fruity, and minty cocktail that is so refreshing on a warm summer's day. If you want your drink spicier (and you have the time), consider infusing your tequila with a few slices of diced jalapenos in a Tupperware for 10 to 20 minutes.
Fresh, Light, and Easy-to-Drink
Aperol is a common sight on the shelves of bars across the world, but it’s most commonly throughout Italy and Europe. Aperol has become popular due to its light, flavorful, sweet, and bitter flavor profile that makes it versatile, light and pleasing.
Aperol is a brilliant cocktail ingredient, whether the Aperol is playing the leading role in the drink or if the Aperol is just one of many components. Aperol comes with orange, bitter, and spiced flavors that are crucial for making its signature cocktails work.
If you want to play some more, Aperol is a great ingredient for combining with our other Haus apéritififs. Since they’re both lower in alcohol content, they work great together without overdoing the boozy impact on the drinks.
You can check out our complete collection of flavors and varieties here and see which flavors excite you the most. Experiment on your own with flavors and ideas that seem right to you, and let us know what new combinations and concoctions you create that we should try!