Walk through an Italian town during the late-afternoon—particularly in Northern cities like Milan and Venice—and you’ll find groups of people enjoying Aperol Spritzes. The after-work spritz is a long-established Italian tradition, and fortunately, it’s one that’s easily replicated anywhere.
Aperol traces its roots back to Padua, Italy. The aperitivo—an appetite-whetting beverage designed to be consumed before dinner—was created in 1919. Its bittersweet flavor, aromatic botanicals and easygoing alcohol content (it’s only 11% ABV) made it the perfect choice for pre-dinner sipping.
Pair Aperol with bubbly wine and sparkling water, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more refreshing and thirst-quenching cocktail. And because it’s low in alcohol, you can start drinking early and still make it to dinner.
While the Aperol Spritz has been enjoyed in Italy for more than a century, it didn’t reach mass appeal in the United States until the 2010s, as drinkers became more familiar with aperitivos and lower-alcohol drinks. Today, it’s a staple at cocktail bars, Italian and non-Italian restaurants, and it can be found almost anywhere that serves brunch on sunny patios.
The Aperol Spritz is also a great candidate for at-home cocktail hour since it’s as easy to make as it is to drink. The three ingredients are simply combined in the glass with ice, no shaking, stirring or elaborate flourishes required. Once complete, the drink’s deliciously complex flavor and gorgeous coral hue belie you having created a classic cocktail in two minutes.
While any sparkling wine can be combined with Aperol and soda, note that a true Aperol Spritz calls specifically for Italian bubbly. Proseccos range from sweet to dry, so choose one that hits the sweetness level you prefer. Then make yourself a drink and relax. You might not be in Italy, but with a good cocktail in hand, you can at least channel the country’s long-standing tradition of aperitivo hour.
Click Play to See This Aperol Spritz Come Together
3 ounces prosecco
2 ounces Aperol
1 ounce club soda
Garnish: orange slice
Add the prosecco, Aperol and club soda to a wine glass filled with ice and stir.
Garnish with an orange slice.