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What is an Aperol Spritz?

aperol spritz

It’s not called an Italian sunset in a glass for no reason; the Aperol Spritz is perhaps one of the most famous (and tastiest) cocktails ever to have come out of Italy. And with summer in full swing (well…almost), what better way to celebrate than pouring ourselves a glass or two of this delicious Italian aperitif?

And whilst you sip on a magnificently orange glass of Aperol Spritz (recipes at the bottom of the article), you may wish to ponder about:

7 things you need to know about Aperol Spritz

1. Aperol originated in Italy

Luigi and Silvio, the Barbieri Brothers, unveiled Italy’s favourite cocktail at the Padua International Fair in 1919. Its popularity grew swiftly in the 1950s, as Paduan society became a centre of gastronomic experimentation. The Aperol Spritz soon evolved to become the drink of choice for social gatherings and can now be spotted in piazzas, outdoor restaurant seating areas and garden parties around the world!

2. But the Spritz is Austrian

Although Aperol itself wasn’t born until 1919, the spritz is a concept that has existed since the nineteenth century. When the Veneto region of northern Italy was part of the Austrian Empire between 1815 and 1866, it is said that they did not enjoy the acidity of the local wines; bar hosts were asked to spray water in to a glass of wine to dilute the flavour (spritzen mit wasser) and thus the Austrian Spritz was born. Conversely, other sources claim the water was to lower the alcohol content. If this is true, then the Austrian Empire was ahead of the game with mindful drinking!

Since then, a whole category of spritzes have emerged, including the Aperol Spritz, Campari Spritz, Hugo Spritz and Gin Spritz.

two aperol spritz

3. The name Aperol comes from the French word for aperitivo, “apéro”

Aperitivo, apéro or “aperitif” in English, is a drink to whet the appetite; it’s usually enjoyed at the end of the workday as a sort of warm up to dinner. Therefore, as the name implies, an Aperol Spritz is best enjoyed in the langourous hours of the late afternoon/early evening. But it’s so gosh darn tasty that we wouldn’t blame you for drinking this at any time of the day!

4. The Aperol Spritz gets its iconic sunset hue from…

Bitter and sweet oranges, rhubarb and other things besides. But who really knows for sure? The recipe for Aperol has been closely guarded since the Italian aperitif’s inception in 1919, although the aforementioned ingredients (amongst roots and botanicals such as gentian and cinchona) have been revealed. Don’t worry though, Aperol does not contain cochineal to add colour and the brand’s official website states that its beverage is 100% vegan!

5. Aperol Spritz is a low alcohol aperitif

With an alcohol percentage of just 11%, Aperol Spritz is a great choice if you’re choosing to moderate your drinking. You could even pair it with a non-alcoholic sparkling wine to keep this popular aperitif super low!

aperol spritz with prosecco being poured in

6. Aperol Spritz contains Prosecco not Champagne

It may be tempting to impress your guest with an Aperol Spritz made with Champagne but you’d be seriously missing out on the aperitif’s full potential if you did so! Made from the Prosecco grape (Glera) grown in the Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions of Italy, Prosecco is the unmistakeable sparkling wine of choice for an Aperol Spritz. In addition to it being a traditional cocktail ingredient, its light, refreshing and fruity character lends itself well to the mildly bitter flavour of the world-renowned Aperol.

7. Opt for a brut or extra brut Prosecco

Whilst the word “dry” is often used to describe booze that isn’t sweet, its usage isn’t consistent across all types of alcohol. In particular, spotting “dry” on your bottle of Prosecco can conversely mean that the taste is sugary. Instead, look for a bottle that states “brut” or “extra brut” as these will pair perfectly with the Aperol.

Aperol spritz from above

Aperol Spritz recipes

Feast your eyes on these Aperol Spritz recipes, from the official alcoholic recipe to 100% alcohol-free versions:

The Aperol Spritz (official)

Who else would you ask how to make the best Aperol Spritz but the Aperol brand itself? Here’s their recipe for the perfect serve in 3, 2, 1…

Low alcohol Aperol Spritz

Fill a glass with ice and pour over:

  • 3 parts non-alcoholic sparkling wine
  • 2 parts Aperol
  • Splash of soda water

Garnish with an orange slice and serve!

Alcohol-free Aperol Spritz

We’ve got not just one but three 0% alcohol Aperol Spritz recipes for you to try!

non alcoholic aperol spritz recipe


Tart, floral and fresh with a burst of rhubarb and hibiscus


non alcoholic aperol spritz recipe


Smoky apple effervescence for the perfect sundown summer spritz 


non alcoholic aperol spritz recipe


Floral with a citrus zing for that refreshing spritz with a kick


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