This classic Aperol spritz recipe makes the original Aperol spritz cocktail, a bittersweet Italian aperitif sipped all over Italy, most famously in Venice, especially in the summertime. It’s a taste of sunny summers in Italy in a glass that will brighten any day. It’s the perfect drink to sip right now wherever you may be.
The weekend is here and while it’s been hard to distinguish one day from the next while staying at home self-isolating in recent months – and it’s been a long time since many of us enjoyed Friday evening drinks with friends – that’s no excuse to not make yourself a cocktail tonight while you peruse our weekend at home itinerary. We recommend this classic Aperol spritz recipe.
There are few things that take you back to a place like food and drinks – which is why when we’re getting nostalgic and reminiscing about past travels, Terence and I will recreate a dish or prepare a meal or mix a cocktail from a place where we’ve happily spent time to trigger those cheering memories.
We’ve recently been recalling travels in Morocco (which explains Terence’s hearty Moroccan chickpea soup recipe; we also have a wonderful lamb tagine with prunes and almonds recipe); our time spent living and working in the Middle East (hence the authentic hummus recipe that Terence’s Lebanese colleague taught him); and years of travelling and writing on Italy (the reason for the recent lasagne alla Bolognese recipe).
As I look out at cloudy grey skies, I’m missing the clarity of light and brilliant blue of late spring and early summer in Venice where we’ve spent a lot of happy times over the years, many of those sipping spritzes after shopping the Rialto markets or at an alfresco table on a buzzy square on a balmy evening. I know what cocktails I’m making this evening.
Classic Aperol Spritz Recipe for a Taste of Summer in Italy Wherever You Are
This classic Aperol spritz recipe is super easy – so easy that after a couple of times mixing this sunny Italian aperitif that screams Italian summers in a glass for me you won’t even need a recipe. So, what is an Aperol spritz cocktail exactly?
If you’ve been to Italy and you didn’t get a chance to try this insanely popular cocktail, it was that bright orange drink that you probably noticed the locals sipping during aperitivo hour – the late afternoon cum early evening drinks that Italians enjoy together before heading off to dinner. Although in some cities, such as Milan, the extravagant aperitivo buffets could become dinner.
A spritz, which consists of white wine and water, dates back to the 1800s, however, the Aperol spritz was created with the invention of Aperol just over a century ago in 1919 in Padua, not far from Venice, and the recipe remains unchanged. The name Aperol comes from ‘apero’, the Italian slang for aperitivo. It’s also called the Spritz Veneziano due to its tremendous popularity there.
A classic Aperol spritz recipe is one of the easiest cocktail recipes to make. Fill a white wine glass with ice cubes – and I know that many Aperol spritz recipes call for a highball glass but in Venice the bars typically use wine glasses, as you can see from the images above. (By the way, that’s Terence on the left and on the right, Luca Zaggia, a marine scientist who we cruised the lagoon with learning about Venice’s rising waters, and who we also interviewed for Venice tips for our decade-old Local Knowledge series.)
Pour 60 ml of dry Prosecco into the glass. Dry Prosecco is always used in Venice, but if you don’t have any, you could use a dry sparkling wine (as I have had to do this evening). Then pour in the 40 ml of Aperol. Top up the glass with soda water – which you could make yourself if you have a Soda Stream – or a quality sparkling water. We love San Pellegrino, which in itself takes us back to long leisurely lunches in Italy. Then stir.
Garnish with half an orange slice and serve, and if you really want to do as the locals do in Italy, especially in Venice, served a bowl of potato crisps and a dish of green olives with your drinks. Cin cin!
Classic Aperol Spritz Recipe
- Ice cubes
- 60 ml chilled dry Prosecco or dry sparkling wine
- 40 ml Aperol
- 1 splash soda water or sparkling water
- 1 orange slice to garnish
- Fill your wine glass with ice cubes.
- Pour in the dry Prosecco or dry sparkling wine.
- Pour in the Aperol.
- Top up the glass with soda water or sparkling water, then stir.
- Garnish with a half orange slice and serve.
Do let us know if you make this classic Aperol spritz recipe as we’d love to know what you think, especially if you’ve never made it before.