You'll be hard-pressed to find a more refreshing and thirst-quenching cocktail than the classic Italian Aperol spritz! It's citrusy, light, bubbly, and tastes like summer. And with just three ingredients, it's an easy cocktail to make at home. The simple 1-2-3 ratio makes it perfect for serving a crowd, too!
The Perfect Aperol Spritz
It doesn't get more classic, or more refreshing, than the Italian Aperol spritz. One sip of this cheerful bright orange cocktail will transport you to a terrace in the midst of a Mediterranean summer.
There's nothing complicated about this popular pre-dinner drink. It's just three simple ingredients swirled together and topped with ice. No shaking or stirring is required. Plus the easy-going, low-alcohol content (11% ABV) means you can start drinking early and still make it to dinner.
It's light, perfectly bittersweet, and tastes like summer in a glass. It's our warm weather go-to drink and it just might become yours, too!
Why you'll love this classic Aperol spritz recipe
- It's ultra-refreshing, light, and crisp
- There is no better cocktail for sipping in the sun
- It has a beautiful orange hue
- One sip and you'll be transported to summertime in Italy.
- It's lower in alcohol than most cocktails out there
- It's easy to make – no stirring or shaking is required
What is aperol?
Aperol is a bittersweet Italian apéritif with a distinctive bright orange hue. It's highly aromatic with notes of citrus and herbs. It's light in taste with lower alcohol content (11% ABV), and it's designed to be consumed as a pre-dinner drink to stimulate the appetite.
For more drinks made with Aperol, try our Aperol negroni.
Aperol spritz ingredients
You may be wondering, what's in an Aperol spritz? Here's everything you'll need to make this classic thirst-quenching Italian drink:
- Prosecco – This Italian white sparkling wine is light, bubbly, and crisp. It's basically the Italian version of Spanish cava or french champagne. Proseccos range from sweet to dry so choose your desired sweetness level. We prefer a drink that's not too sweet, so we go for a brut (dry) prosecco and opt for a mid-price range bottle.
- Aperol – This star ingredient is an Italian bitter liqueur made of gentian, rhubarb, and cinchona, among other ingredients. It has a vibrant orange color and a bittersweet taste. It's traditionally consumed as an apéritif (meaning before a meal). Find it near the other liqueurs at most liquor stores.
- Soda water – Plain unflavored soda water (or a splash of club soda) adds some dilution and extra bubbles.
- Orange slices – We like to use a fresh orange slice to garnish our Aperol spritz, which is the common North American garnish. But the classic Italian garnish is green olives, and their salty bite goes well with the complex, bittersweet flavor of Aperol.
What is an aperol spritz?
An Aperol spritz is a classic Italian cocktail made with three ingredients in a ratio of 1-2-3 (one part soda water, two parts Aperol, and three parts prosecco):
- Soda water
Top it off with a fresh orange slice for garnish and you've got yourself a traditional Aperol spritz!
How to make an Aperol spritz
Making an Aperol spritz is as easy as 1-2-3! This ratio makes it really easy to scale up the size of this recipe for multiple drinks, or even a pitcher. Here's how to make an Aperol spritz in just a few simple steps:
- Start by adding the prosecco, Aperol, and soda water to your large wine glass.
- Now carefully fill the glass with ice (this is key to making a traditional Aperol spritz).
- Finish it off by garnishing your glass with a slice of orange, and serve right away! That's it!
Full recipe instructions are in the recipe card below.
Why add the ice last? Unlike most cocktail recipes, the ice should be added last when you are making an Aperol spritz. If you pour prosecco overtop the ice, it starts to lose its bubbles right away. If you add ice first, you'll need to mix the drink and you'll lose more bubbles. Adding the ice last is actually the traditional method of making an Aperol spritz. If making the best Aperol spritz is important to you, try adding the ice last.
How to make a pitcher of Aperol spritz
Making an Aperol spritz in a pitcher is a bit sacrilegious, but if you have a lot of glasses to make at once, this might be the method for you. This is the perfect refreshing cocktail to serve to a crowd, and using the 1-2-3 ratio to make a pitcher couldn't be easier! To measure the quantities, we recommend using cups instead of ounces.
For example, for a standard 8-cup pitcher, use 3 cups prosecco (1 bottle), 2 cups Aperol, and 1 cup soda water.
Give the pitcher the briefest stir (we know this advice goes against what we've said above, but this pitcher method is for when you're prioritizing simplicity over perfection) then pour it into ice-filled glasses. You'll want to make sure not to prepare a pitcher in advance or the bubbles will sadly disappear. Only use a pitcher when you have many glasses to fill right away.
Liven up your next gathering or special occasion with a pitcher of Aperol spritz. It's easy to make, and easy to drink, and everyone will love it!
Making a casual Aperol spritz
While the official Aperol spritz ratio is 3-2-1, you can eyeball these amounts for an extra easy-going drink. Rather than measuring our 3 ounces of prosecco, pour it about ¼ way up the glass. Then, add a little less Aperol, and top it with a splash of soda water.
Also, once you make the official Aperol spritz recipe once, you can start experimenting with slightly different ratios to find your favorite. Some people like a little more prosecco and some like more Aperol. No matter what anyone else says, this is your cocktail, make it the way that you enjoy it most.
Tips for making the best Aperol spritz
- Make sure that the Aperol, sparkling wine, and soda water are all cold so they don't quickly melt the ice.
- To keep it extra bubbly, make sure to add the ice at the very end.
- To make a less boozy version, add more soda water.
- The orange slice really enhances the citrusy flavor. No oranges? You can also use lemon or grapefruit. Or try the Italian tradition of skewering a green olive to serve with your spritz.
- This recipe makes one drink. Scale up the ingredients for more servings!
Because of the sparkling water and wine, this drink is best enjoyed right away.
Aperol is an amaro, which means “bitter” in Italian. You can experiment with using different amaros, but know that aperol is sweeter and less bitter than most, so switching the alcohol will yield a different drink. Other examples of well-known amaros are Campari, Averna, Montenegro, Cynar, and Fernet Branca.
What to serve with an Aperol spritz
An Aperol spritz is traditionally served in Italy as a pre-dinner drink. If you stroll through an Italian town in the late afternoon, you're likely to find groups gathered to relax and unwind from the day with an Aperol spritz and some snacks.
So here's your cue to kick back with an icy spritz and some of our favorite appetizers:
- Beet Chip and Goat Cheese Appetizer
- Red Wine Chorizo Bites
- Chimichurri Steak Bites Appetizer
- Easy Marinated Olives
- Summer Peach Salsa
More interesting Italian-inspired drinks
We're big fans of bittersweet cocktails, like the Aperol spritz. Here are a few boozier Italian-inspired cocktails that we like to sip in the evening.
Popular summer cocktail recipes
- Frozen Negroni Slushy
- Watermelon Margarita
- Fizzy Lime Margaritas
- Cucumber Margarita
- Strawberry Basil Mojito
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- 3 parts prosecco
- 2 parts Aperol
- 1 part soda water, or club soda
- Orange slices, to serve
- Add the prosecco, Aperol, and soda water to a large wine glass.3 parts prosecco, 2 parts Aperol, 1 part soda water
- Carefully fill the glass with ice. See notes. Garnish the glass with a slice of orange and serve right away.Orange slices