See how the Italian bitter apéritif shines in these brightly-hued beverages.

By Kelly Vaughan
March 29, 2021
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bottle of aperol
Credit: Getty Images/ verbaska_studio

With its intense scarlet color, bitter flavor, and ability to turn any drink into a festive, vibrant cocktail, there are so many reasons to love Aperol. While it's always been a staple in spritzes, Aperol has grown in popularity over the last few years. Despite its visual similarities to fruit punch, Aperol is, in fact, quite a sophisticated ingredient. Although it's considered a low-alcohol apéritif—meaning it's traditionally consumed before meals—it's a staple in other cocktail recipes, most notably the Aperol Spritz. The recipe used to make this 100-year-old spirit is top secret, but we do know that Aperol is made with a combination of oranges, rhubarb, roots and herbs, and a touch of vanilla.

"The combination of rhubarb and orange aren't the only reasons to add Aperol to your favorite spritz. The color is so inviting—it makes any spritz approachable using any of your favorite spirits, garnishes, and fun ice cubes. Aperol is a combination of sweet, herbal, and bright making all of your senses feel great," says Tiffanie Barriere, bartender and the mind behind The Drinking Coach. Ahead, we're sharing nine colorful cocktails that put this liqueur to good use.

aperol spritz
Credit: Bryan Gardner

Aperol Spritz

Make this classic summer drink using just three ingredients—Aperol, prosecco, and soda water. Garnished with an orange slice, this vibrant cocktail will mentally transport you to Italy no matter where in the world you're sipping.

Aperol Gin Punch
Credit: Paola + Murray

Aperol Gin Punch

Two aperitifs—Lillet Blanc, a French fortified white wine, and Aperol—team up in this big-batch cocktail recipe that also calls for gin, fresh lime juice, and orange blossom water. Garnish each drink with a basil sprig.

citrus dreaming cocktails and copper cocktail shaker
Credit: Mike Krautter

Citrus Dreaming (Aperol Negroni)

In this twist on a classic Italian-style negroni, Aperol is used in place of Campari and a combination of sweet and dry vermouth work in tandem to bring fortified flavor. Once you taste this Aperol cocktail recipe, you may never return to the original recipe.

Red Wine Spritz

Red Wine Spritzer

All you need are four basic ingredients to make our food editors' favorite cocktail of the summer—light-bodied red wine, Aperol, a splash of seltzer, and an orange wedge for a sunny garnish.

Venus Blush Cocktail

Venus Blush Cocktail

For an intensely colored drink, make this Aperol cocktail recipe, which calls for the apéritif, plus blood orange juice and prosecco. Its intoxicating hue would surely make anyone blush.

Aperol Jasmine Spritz
Credit: Petrina Tinslay

Aperol Jasmine Spritz

If you want to make a delicious Aperol cocktail in advance, try this recipe which calls for a bright, homemade lemon simple syrup that you can prepare up to two weeks before serving. When it's time to drink, just mix the syrup with gin, Aperol, bitters, and seltzer water, then garnish each glass with fresh herbs.

Blame It on the Aperol

Blame It on the Aperol

Pop some bubbly for this Aperol cocktail recipe. It couldn't be easier to prepare—stir together the Italian bitter apéritif with gin and lemonade, then top with prosecco and garnish with an orange slice. It's a celebratory drink that's worthy of a festive occasion.

Pear Aperol Spritz
Credit: Peter Ardito

Pear Aperol Spritz

Sweet pear cider is a delightful twist on autumnal hard apple cider. It's a fabulous, unexpected pairing for bitter Aperol and tart fresh lemon juice in this cocktail recipe.

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Credit: Randy Harris

Plum Negroni

This summer-inspired version of a classic negroni is made without vermouth. Instead, fresh plums muddled with sugar create the deep purple color and provide sweetness.

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