Happy Hour: Aperol Spritz

The classic Aperol spritz recipe on the back of the Aperol bottle calls for three parts Prosecco (or other sparkling wine), two parts Aperol, and a splash of soda. The concoction is fizzy and vibrantly orange in flavor, softly sweet and just a tiny bit bitter—perfect for sipping before dinner as an aperitivo. Earlier versions of the spritz used Select, which some tasters find more complex, or Campari, which is quite a bit more bitter and bracing. But you can spritz with whatever bittersweet liqueur you prefer—or even combine two of your favorites.

Adjusting the ratio of Aperol and fizz can give you a more refreshing (and less sweet) spritz. If you’re starting with three ounces of sparkling wine, the standard two full ounces of Aperol yields a juicy, orange-soda-like drink. Decreasing the Aperol by half an ounce makes a spritz that’s much more balanced and significantly less sweet. That’s the winner for me: This Aperol spritz recipe is refreshing but still packed with sunny, citrusy flavor. Cutting down the Aperol even further gives you a thirst quencher, but the flavor feels almost watered down. On a really hot day it might be preferred.

Beyond the ratio, the other secret to the best Aperol spritz is in the order of pouring: If you add the Aperol first, it’ll sink to the bottom of the glass and just sit there since it’s heavier than the other ingredients in this easy cocktail. Start with the sparkling wine instead—and make sure it’s chilled so it doesn’t lose its fizz—then add the Aperol so it can sink into the drink.


Makes 1

3 oz. Prosecco or other sparkling wine, chilled

1½ oz. Aperol

1 oz. club soda, chilled

Orange wheel (for serving)

Fill a wine glass halfway with ice, then slowly pour in 3 oz. Prosecco1½ oz. Aperol, and 1 oz. club soda. Gently stir once and garnish with an orange wheel.

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