Pre-prohibition cocktails and modern twists on classics



Bright orange in color, Aperol has a light, sweet, bitter citrus flavor that is refreshing as it looks.

Quina – aka Cinchona, a root that has a bitter, somewhat effervescent taste. Also used in tonic water (quinine), as well as an antimalarial (quinine) and anti-arrhythmic (quinadine).

Gentian – a flower that has a sweet yet quite bitter flavor.

Like many spirits, espescially amari, Aperol is made from a closely guarded secret recipe utilizing an infusion of many herbs and plants. Some highlights include both bitter and sweet oranges, rhubarb, quina, and gentian. Aperol’s recipe has remained unchanged since its creation.

To those who haven’t tried it, some would say Aperol tastes a bit like a lower proof Campari. In some ways there are similarities, as both have orange as a predominate flavor and are certainly bitter. Campari being the more potent in alcohol, orange and bitter of the two. However, once you begin to enjoy Aperol, you will certainly appreciate the more herbal notes and its lighter flavor. Conversely, Aperol also makes a great introduction to the stronger flavor of Campari and other amari.


Light and refreshing scent with orange and herbal notes. The taste is obviously citrus orange, also with hints of rhubarb upfront, layered with somewhat woody and herbal undertones and a mildly bitter orange finish.


In most countries, Aperol is 22 proof (11%ABV).

A few Aperol Cocktails:AperolPackshot


Aperol 2Aperol was created by two brothers, Luigi and Silvio Barbieri, who desired to create a lower alcohol spirit. Their, creation, Aperol, contained only 11% ABV and was debuted at the 1919 Padua Exhibition.

A later ad created a popular slogan, “Ah, Aperol.” Sounds refreshing doesn’t it?

Aperol was at first targeted toward men and sold well. However, it wasn’t until the 1930s when advertising switched to targeting women, that Aperol really took off. The new ads toted the benefits of Aperol for the “active” woman and played up its lower alcohol content as a healthier alternative to the higher proof, less “healthy” spirits. This boosted its popularity among the younger crowd, bringing Aperol to a new generation of consumers.

Aperol 3

In 1995, Aperol Soda was created. Similar to Camparisoda, this is a prebottled cocktail, containing Aperol and club soda. Also like Camparisoda, Aperol Soda is not sold in the states, but is popular in Italy, as well as Austria and Switzerland.

In 2003, the Campari group acquired Aperol, further expanding its reach and popularity, bringing Aperol into a great product lineup, including Campari and Cynar.

While often compared to Campari, Aperol stands out as a refreshing, low proof, bright orange and slightly bitter amaro, that will appeal to seasoned cocktail enthusiasts as well as those new to the world of bitter flavors.

12 Responses to “Aperol”

  1. ABCDEF | The Straight Up

    […] somewhat malty, almost like Genever, like due to the addition of pisco. The main bitter component, Aperol, is lighter than the typical bitter cocktail, making for a nice color and lighter flavor which goes […]

  2. Gentian Dream | The Straight Up

    […] posted my twist on an Archangel, Seraphim, also featuring cucumber as well as rhubarb laced Aperol and the cucumber infused Hendrick’s Gin. While maybe I could get away with using one of these […]

  3. Variations – The Negroni | The Straight Up

    […] Aperol is an obvious choice for a lighter Negroni. It’s low alcohol, very light with just a hint of bitterness and a great orange and rhubarb laced taste. A recently revived orange flavored liqueur that most probably haven’t heard of is Calisaya, which is lighter, much sweeter and less bitter than Campari. Amaro Nonino is also a great substitute as well, with a taste similar to Gran Marnier but with a richer bittered finish. […]

  4. Astorian Spritz | The Straight Up

    […] an almost “gin-y” flavor mixed in with the wine. I often enjoy the Petal and Thorn with Aperol, but wanted to add a little more to it. St. Germain adds sweetness and a touch of elderflower. The […]

  5. Takeoff | The Straight Up

    […] Luck). Mike Ryan, top dog at Sable, made me a weird Negroni riff with Malort for gin, Aperol for Campari and Creme de Cacoa for Vermouth. It might have been fizzy. He called it the […]

  6. Pinarello | The Straight Up

    […] something a bit more suitable for warmer weather. I chose to ditch the Fernet for lighter fruitier Aperol. I also switched it from an up drink to one over crushed ice to up the refreshing […]


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