From northeastern Italy comes this easy, breezy cocktail with widespread appeal. Crisp Prosecco offsets bright and bitter(ish) Aperol, and that final splash of soda keeps things balanced. Green olives are a traditional garnish, but an orange wedge also works beautifully.

Need the right Prosecco? See our picks for the best Proseccos for Aperol Spritzes!

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces Aperol
  • 3 ounces Prosecco
  • Club soda to top
  • Orange wedge or green olive for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. Pour Aperol and Prosecco into a wine glass filled with ice.
  2. Top with soda.
  3. Stir gently to combine.
  4. Add garnish, if using.

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Updated: 2022-03-17

The Aperol Spritz Recipe

The History of the Aperol Spritz

Italy has many famous and delicious beverages. There’s wine like Barolo, Chianti, and Super Tuscans. There’s ubiquitous Italian beer like Peroni. Nothing, however, has as strong a claim to being “Italy’s drink” as a low-alcohol cocktail called the Aperol Spritz. The drink is built around Aperol, a semi-sweet, slightly bitter, 11-percent-alcohol-by-volume aperitif from northern Italy.

Aperol Spritz is an easy 3-2-1 mix of three parts prosecco, two parts Aperol, and one splash of soda water. Pour all the ingredients into a wine glass filled with ice, garnish it with an orange slice, and there you have it: Italy’s most popular mixer. The history of the Aperol Spritz, however, is a little more complicated.

It all goes back to 1805 and the Napoleonic wars. In the aftermath of the wars, Austria-Hungary took ownership of the Veneto region of northern Italy, where Venice is located. For the next 50 years, Austrians took the local Italian wine and added a splash, or in German, a “spritz,” of water. Over time (and two World Wars) the water turned to sparkling water, and the still wine morphed into wine fortified with a liqueur. The liqueur of choice quickly became Aperol.

In 1919, Aperol was born. It gained popularity through the 1920s, and in the 1930s, it became a drink “for women and sportive people.” Advertisements around Italy marketed the drink as something to help the fitness conscious stay “lean and fit.” It wasn’t until the 1950s, though, that Aperol capitalized on the spritz. The 3-2-1 recipe of prosecco, Aperol, and soda water became an important part of the advertising campaign in America with posters and slogans.

But it wasn’t until the 2000s that the Aperol Spritz became the worldwide phenomenon that it is today. In 2003, Gruppo Campari bought the Aperol brand and used its global distribution to its advantage. To get people hooked on the aperitif, Gruppo Campari pushed the Aperol Spritz once again. Actress Amanda Rosa Da Silva settled into TV commercials with the catch phrase, “Happy Spritz, Happy Aperol.” It wasn’t long until Aperol became the best-selling liquor in Italy.

The wave of popularity was ridden to a crest. In 2011, Aperol released a pre-bottled Aperol Spritz sold in three-packs. All you had to do was add the ice and orange, but homemade always remains the ideal choice. When it comes to a light summer drink to share with friends in those hours after dinner, but before the bars, there are few things better than an Aperol Spritz.

Aperol Spritz Recipe Variations To Try:

  • The Strawberry Aperol Spritz - Try this classic Italian aperitivo cocktail, which gets a boost from ripe, juicy strawberries. Perfect for brunch (or any time!)
  • The Sfizio Spritz - Looking for the next big spritz? Try this spritz-shandy mashup with Fort Point’s Sfizio Italian-style Pilsner.
  • The Spicy Spritz Recipe - Just because a spritz is light and easy-drinking, doesn’t mean it lacks flavor — especially not in this variation. This recipe brings a gentle kick with the addition of serrano chili, tequila, and lime. Strawberry syrup and soda help round out the range of flavors.
  • The Winter Citrus Spritz - This riff promises to add color to even the dreariest winter day. Fresh blood orange adds color and sweetness, with a touch of honey simple syrup for good measure. A splash of Prosecco adds the finishing touch.