Cocktail Couture: The Aperol Spritz

Poor Rebekah Peppler...

The conflicted New York Times writer recently bashed the Aperol Spritz and drew a lot of heat from Spritz-lovers like myself. At this time of year with the weather heating up, there's nothing like this classic, refreshing Italian cocktail that's the equivalent of a sultry Summer sunset in a glass. And, in addition to being imminently Instagrammable, it's the perfect balance of bitter and sweet and these elements can be adjusted to suit a variety of palates.

Peppler seems to take umbrage with the drink being served in "branded" glasses and made using low quality Prosecco. Dare I say the simple fix here is to use different glasses and better quality Prosecco? I've been drinking Aperol Spritz's for years and have yet to encounter a branded glass. She even disses the requisite orange slice garnish - what's more Summery than an orange slice?

And at this point YOU might be asking - what the heck an Aperol Spritz and why should I care? In which case, let me explain...

The Aperol Spritz originated in Italy and is a delightful combination of Aperol, Prosecco and club soda, garnished with the aforementioned orange slice. The key ingredient, Aperol, is a bright orange, Italian aperitivo liqueur that was introduced in 1919 at the International Fair of Padua. Created by the Barbieri brothers, it is an infusion of bitter and sweet oranges and a variety of carefully selected herbs and roots. The result is a delightful concoction that's simultaneously sweet and bitter with an array of enticing herbal notes.

Aperol makes for a great Summer mixer because it's quite low in alcohol, clocking in at a mere 11% abv ~ your standard issue Sauvignon Blancs and Chardonnays can range from 12-14%. Interestingly, in the 1930's an ad campaign directed at women actually touted Aperol as the liqueur for the fitness conscious, promising to keep them lean and fit thanks to its low alcohol content ~ ah the good 'ol days!


It actually wasn't until the 1950's that the recipe for the Aperol Spritz was officially introduced and consists of a ratio of 3 parts Prosecco (use a good DOCG bottle!), 2 parts Aperol and a splash of club soda. The order of the ingredients is important, you want to place the ice in the glass first, then the Prosecco, then the Aperol and top with the club soda. This order prevents the Aperol from settling to the bottom and trust me, you really want to get the beautiful, orangey sunset colors! And be sure to garnish the gorgeous glass with a juicy, ripe orange wedge.

The Aperol Spritz also makes a more glamorous, evening presentation in a Champagne flute. Just leave out the ice and orange slice and layer the Aperol, Prosecco and Club Soda and you have the perfect, pre-dinner cocktail. Whadya think of THAT, Rebekah!

I hope you have a chance to discover the Aperol Spritz this Summer and if you have a favorite Summertime cocktail, please let me know in the Comments section below.

Stephanie Miskew
Stephanie Miskew