Aperol is a popular Italian bitter liqueur with a sweet orange flavor! Here’s what to know and how to use it in cocktails.
Want to grab a bottle of Aperol, or not sure exactly what it is? This ultra popular Italian liqueur is best known for its inclusion in the iconic Spritz. But what is it exactly? It it worth buying a bottle? We think so. This liqueur is on the sweet end when it comes to Italian aperitifs, with an intriguing herbal orange flavor. You can use it for a Spritz, of course: but it’s got even more to offer. Here’s more about it and ways to use it in cocktails!
What is Aperol?
Aperol is a Italian liqueur that’s an aperitif: a liquor designed for sipping before a meal. It’s considered an Italian amaro or bitter (amaro means “little bitter”), but it’s the sweetest in the family. It was invented in Padua, Italy in 1919 by brothers Luigi and Silvio Barbieri. The company that sells Campari, Gruppo Campari, bought Aperol in the 1990s.
Aperol is bright orange in color, whereas its cousin liqueur Campari is bright red. In fact, Italian liqueurs are more different than they are alike: see Campari vs Aperol.
What does Aperol taste like?
Aperol is sweet, with a subtle bitter finish. It has strong notes of bitter orange, rhubarb, and herbs. It’s one of the sweetest in the Italian bitter family, so it’s the most palatable and easy to drink. It’s also very low alcohol: it is 22 proof or 11 percent ABV.
Are there any Aperol substitutes? Not really. You’re going to want to find the real thing if you’re making a cocktail that calls for it.
Why we like it
Aperol is sweeter and more approachable than the ultra bitter Campari. It’s great in a spritz, or just watered down with soda water. Even better, a few of our favorite modern classic cocktails mix it in interesting ways with liquors like bourbon and Chartreuse (see below).
How much does it cost?
Compared to other liquors, Aperol is mid-priced. A 750 ml bottle costs $20 to $35.
Most popular Aperol cocktails
You can drink it straight as an aperitif, but this bright orange liqueur is most commonly included in cocktails.
- Don’t want to follow a recipe? Mix it with soda water to create a make-shift spritzer.
- Want a cocktail? Try it in one of these popular Aperol cocktails:
This Italian liqueur is also included in the following drinks:
- Aperol Cocktail with rum, pineapple juice, and lime
- Negroni with Aperol: swap out the Campari for Aperol to make a whole new drink
- Garibaldi with Aperol: mix it with orange juice for a sweet, easy to drink highball
The classic Aperol spritz is worth the hype! It’s light and bubbly, with hints of citrus and herbs: one of the most refreshing mixed drinks of all time.
- Category: Drink
- Method: Stirred
- Cuisine: Cocktails
More liquor guides
Wondering what Campari is? Or St Germain or Chartreuse? Want the best brand of bourbon or how to make a Manhattan? Here are a few more guides to cocktail and mixology:
- Guide to Grenadine It’s mistaken as cherry, but this bright syrup has a secret.
- Quick Guide to Cointreau This popular orange liqueur is the best out there.
- Guide to Orange Liqueur All you need to know about this somewhat confusing style of liquor.
- Quick Guide to Chartreuse This pale green liqueur is worth adding to your collection…here’s why.
- Quick Guide to Absinthe This formerly banned liquor is now in good graces.
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.