What Is Aperol? History, Cocktails, and More

Everything you need to know about Italy’s most popular liqueur

Aperol is a popular Italian liqueur that has gained popularity in recent years.

It is a bittersweet aperitif that is often enjoyed before a meal. The vibrant orange color of Aperol makes it easily recognizable, and it is often used as a key ingredient in cocktails.

Created in 1919, Aperol is made using a blend of herbs and roots. It has a lower alcohol content compared to other Italian liqueurs, such as Campari, and has a distinct taste that is both sweet and bitter.

The unique flavor profile of Aperol makes it a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of cocktails.

Despite its popularity, many people are still unsure about what Aperol is and how it can be used. In this article, we will explore the history of Aperol, its ingredients, and how it can be used in cocktails. Whether you are a seasoned bartender or simply curious about this popular liqueur, this article will provide you with everything you need to know about Aperol.

What is Aperol?

Aperol is an Italian liqueur that is popular for its unique bittersweet taste.

It is a type of apéritif, which is a drink that is typically served before a meal to stimulate the appetite. Aperol is made from a blend of herbs, roots, and orange peel, which gives it its distinct flavor and bright orange color.

Whether sipped on its own or mixed into a cocktail, Aperol is a great choice for those looking for a refreshing and slightly bitter drink.

History of Aperol

Aperol was first created in 1919 in Padua, Italy by brothers Luigi and Silvio Barbieri.

It was originally marketed as a health tonic, but it quickly became a popular drink in Italy and across Europe.

In the 1950s, Aperol became a key ingredient in the popular Spritz cocktail, which helped to increase its popularity even further.

Ingredients of Aperol

The exact recipe for Aperol is a closely guarded secret, but it is known to contain a blend of bitter and sweet oranges, rhubarb, gentian, and cinchona.

These ingredients are macerated in alcohol to extract their flavors and then blended together to create the final product.

Aperol has a relatively low alcohol content of 11%, which makes it a popular choice for daytime drinking and for those who prefer a lighter drink.

How is Aperol Made?

Aperol is an Italian bitter apéritif that is made of a unique blend of ingredients.

Here is a brief overview of how Aperol is made:

Production Process of Aperol

Aperol is produced through a complex process that involves several steps.

The production process of Aperol includes:

  • Infusing sweet and bitter oranges with herbs, barks, and roots like cinchona, rhubarb, and gentian
  • Blending the infused ingredients with alcohol and water
  • Filtering the mixture to remove any impurities
  • Adding sugar and other flavorings to the mixture
  • Bottling and aging the Aperol for a few months to allow the flavors to develop

Flavor Profile of Aperol

Aperol has a unique flavor profile that is both bitter and sweet.

The blend of sweet and bitter oranges gives Aperol its distinct orange hue and its fruity flavor. The addition of herbs, barks, and roots like cinchona, rhubarb, and gentian gives Aperol its bitter taste and its complex flavor profile.

Aperol has a lower alcohol content than other apéritifs like Campari, making it a lighter and more refreshing option.

How to Enjoy Aperol

When it comes to enjoying Aperol, there are a variety of ways to do so.

Here are a few options:

Classic Aperol Spritz Recipe

The classic Aperol Spritz is a refreshing and easy-to-make cocktail that has become increasingly popular in recent years.

Here’s how to make it:

  • 3 parts Prosecco: Fill a wine glass with ice and add Prosecco
  • 2 parts Aperol: Add Aperol to the glass
  • 1 part soda water: Top off the glass with soda water and stir gently
  • Orange slice: Garnish with an orange slice

Other Aperol Cocktails to Try

While the Aperol Spritz is a classic, there are plenty of other cocktails that feature Aperol as a key ingredient.

Here are a few to consider:

  • Aperol Negroni: This cocktail is a twist on the classic Negroni, substituting Aperol for Campari. Mix 1 oz. gin, 1 oz. Aperol, and 1 oz. sweet vermouth in a shaker with ice. Strain into a glass and garnish with an orange peel.
  • Aperol Sour: For a sweet and sour cocktail, mix 2 oz. Aperol, 1 oz. lemon juice, and 1 oz. simple syrup in a shaker with ice. Strain into a glass and garnish with a cherry.
  • Aperol Margarita: For a tropical twist on a classic cocktail, mix 1 1/2 oz. tequila, 1 oz. Aperol, 1 oz. lime juice, and 1/2 oz. simple syrup in a shaker with ice. Strain into a glass and garnish with a lime wedge.

Aperol vs. Campari


Aperol and Campari are both Italian aperitifs, but they have some significant differences.

While both are bitter, Aperol is sweeter and less bitter than Campari. Aperol has a lower alcohol content of 11% ABV compared to Campari’s 20.5% to 28.5% ABV.

Aperol has a lighter orange color, while Campari is a deep red color. Aperol is also fruitier, with hints of orange and rhubarb, while Campari is more herbal, with flavors of bitter orange, cherry, and rhubarb.

Both liqueurs are used in cocktails, but they are often used in different ways. Aperol is frequently used in spritzes, while Campari is used in Negronis and other classic cocktails.

Aperol is also a popular choice for those who are new to Italian bitters, as it is sweeter and less bitter than Campari.

Which One to Choose?

Choosing between Aperol and Campari depends on personal preference and the type of cocktail you want to make.

If you prefer sweeter drinks and want to make spritzes, Aperol is a great choice. If you prefer more herbal flavors and want to make classic cocktails like Negronis, Campari is the way to go.

It’s also worth noting that both Aperol and Campari can be used in a variety of cocktails, and some bartenders even use them interchangeably. Experimenting with both liqueurs can help you discover new and exciting cocktails to enjoy.


Aperol is a unique Italian aperitif that has been enjoyed for over a century.

With its vibrant orange color and bittersweet taste, it has become a popular ingredient in cocktails around the world. Aperol’s lower alcohol content and sweeter taste make it a more approachable option compared to other bitter liqueurs such as Campari.

One of the most popular ways to enjoy Aperol is in a spritz, mixed with prosecco and soda water. This refreshing and light cocktail has become a staple of summer gatherings and outdoor events.

While Aperol may be best known for its use in cocktails, it can also be enjoyed on its own over ice or with a splash of soda water.

Its complex flavor profile, with notes of bitter orange, rhubarb, and gentian, make it a versatile ingredient in many recipes.

Overall, Aperol is a must-try for anyone looking to explore the world of Italian aperitifs. Its unique flavor and vibrant color are sure to impress, and its versatility makes it a great addition to any home bar.

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

Written by Lauren McKenna

Lauren is a soon to be Temple University graduate. Her love of travel has introduced her to food and drinks from all over the world. She provides MyBartender with a global view of all things alcohol.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

a bottle and the top of a glass of champagne

A Guide to Prosecco

four mocktails on ice

What is a Mocktail? Origin, Types, and Ingredients