Campari vs Aperol: what’s the difference between these Italian liqueurs? Here’s what you need to know about these popular aperitivos.
Campari vs Aperol: what’s the difference between these two liqueurs? They’re both Italian bitters, also called aperitivos, liquors served before a meal. They both have a beautiful bright color and products of the same Italian company (Gruppo Campari). So what’s the difference? Here’s what to know about the difference between these popular spirits!
Campari vs Aperol: what’s the difference?
Campari and Aperol are Italian bitter liquors with several key differences. Here’s a breakdown:
- Origin: Campari was invented in Italy in 1860 by Gaspare Campari in Novare, Italy. Because it’s got such a long history, it’s a featured ingredient in classic cocktails like the Negroni.
- Color: Campari is bright red in color. Fun fact: The bright red color of Campari originally came from a dye made of crushed insects! That’s no longer in the modern recipe, so it shouldn’t deter you from grabbing a bottle.
- Flavor: Campari tastes very bitter, with sweet notes like cherry, clove, cinnamon and orange peel.
- Alcohol content: Campari is 48 proof or 24 percent ABV, almost twice that of Aperol.
- Origin: Aperol was also invented in Italy, but much later in 1919. Brothers Luigi and Silvio Barbieri created this aperitif in Padua, Italy. The company that sells Campari, Gruppo Campari, bought Aperol in the 1990s.
- Color: Aperol is a bright orange color: it’s very distinct from Campari.
- Flavor: The flavor of Aperol is sweeter and more balanced than Campari, with notes of citrus and herbs.
- Alcohol content: Aperol has a lower alcohol content than Campari: it is 22 proof or 11 percent ABV.
Popular Campari and Aperol cocktails
Popular Campari Cocktails
- Americano The oldest Campari cocktail, the Americano comes from a bar called Caffe Campari in Milan, Italy in the 1860’s.
- Classic Negroni The most famous Campari cocktail is the Negroni, invented in the 1920’s by Count Negroni in Florence, Italy.
- Boulevardier A 1920’s classic cocktail, the Boulevardier is a variation on the Negroni that swaps gin for whiskey.
- Old Pal Another 1920’s cocktail, the Old Pal takes the Boulevardier and swaps sweet vermouth for dry vermouth.
- Negroni Sbagliato A modern spin from 1980’s in Milan, the Sbagliato swaps gin for bubbly Prosecco.
- Jungle Bird The Jungle Bird is a modern tropical cocktail starring rum, pineapple juice, and Campari.
Popular Aperol Cocktails
- Aperol Spritz The most popular Aperol cocktail is the spritz! It took its current form in the 1950’s and has been popular ever since.
- Paper Plane This modern classic cocktail invented in 2007 features the unique combination of Aperol and bourbon.
- Naked and Famous This modern classic balances smoky, citrus, bitter and sweet.
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.
- 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) Aperol, chilled
- 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) Prosecco or other sparkling wine, chilled
- 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) soda water
- Ice (try clear ice!)
- For the garnish: orange wedge, a straw if you like
- Add the Aperol to a glass filled with ice and stir. Top with the sparkling wine and soda water.
- Squeeze in the orange wedge and stir gently, then serve. Serve with a straw to minimize dilution!
- Category: Drink
- Method: Stirred
- Cuisine: Cocktails
Keywords: Campari vs Aperol
Last updated: February 2021
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.