It’s late summer, it’s sweltering, and the last thing we want is bored ice cubes. The Aperol Spritz has always been a go-to drink order on evenings when it’s too hot to form coherent thoughts. You’re out after work, you see a gorgeous, orange goblet waltz by on its way to a lucky customer, and “I’ll have what they’re having” flies out of your mouth. You know the drill, you know the drink.
But the Aperol Spritz is also one of the easiest cocktails to create at home, and current degrees Fahrenheit are only one reason to keep its supplies well-stocked. It’s also a delicious way to experiment with flavor and fizz. The cocktail’s simplicity means there are endless ways to craft an Aperol Spritz upgrade to suit every taste and even every season.
Let’s start with the standard Aperol Spritz recipe, just in case you haven’t yet mastered it during one heatwave or another:
- One glass of ice
- One part Aperol
- One part prosecco
- A dash of soda
- Garnish with an orange slice
Simple, refreshing, and practically begging for creative variations. The simplest recipes open up windows for you to experiment, try new ingredients, and in general just have a little fun. (Which was kind of the point in the first place, right?)
For example, no oranges for garnish? Drop in a dash of citrus bitters, which will give you the brightness you’re looking for while adding a little bit of depth to this lighthearted classic. Blood Orange Lemonade Cocktail Mixer is another way to bring citrus notes in, and this particular blend’s earthy sweetness gives it the potential to play a major role in your spritz. Alter your recipe to include this mixer, Aperol, and prosecco in equal parts, and you’ve just upgraded into new levels of flavor. We also love this method for big-batch spritzes, served immediately from a large pitcher. If you’re hosting a gathering where a drink dispenser is the smarter move, mix everything but the prosecco and soda, and let guests top off their glasses with bubbles.
If we’re honest, here’s the real Aperol Spritz upgrade: Make them all year. We gravitate toward a good spritz in summer, but a twist or two (was that a pun?) takes the drink straight through into any season. For fall and winter, bring in spicy notes, carried by fruit flavors so they complement the cocktail well. We like spiced cherry bitters or even a little charred grapefruit tonic. In spring, a drop or two of tart cherry grenadine would be extremely welcome while you dust off the patio furniture for the first time that year.