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Aperol Cocktails: 20 to Try

Story: M. Carrie Allan

If you hit St. Mark’s Square in Venice at the right time of afternoon, with the pigeons scuttling about and the sun still warming the topmost angles of the clock tower, you’ll notice that many of those gathered at the tables around the piazza are sipping goblets full of a drink that echoes the color of the sunset they’re soaking in. These spritzes are ubiquitous in this area of Italy, their glowing orange E.T. hearts typically comprised of Aperol, a bittersweet Italian liqueur that’s been on the scene since the early 20th century.

As with so many liqueurs, Aperol’s exact recipe remains secret, though the makers acknowledge bitter and sweet oranges and rhubarb are in the mix. More sweet than bitter, and only 11 percent alcohol, the liqueur is what you’d get if Campari took a beach vacation, returning home with a lighter disposition and tales of sunny hillsides thick with citrus trees. The recipe for a perfect Aperol Spritz is a simple countdown: pour three parts dry prosecco, two parts Aperol and one part seltzer into a wine glass half-full of ice, and boom: you’ve got the most popular cocktail in Italy, one that’s helped carry the liqueur across the globe. Alongside the G&T, the Aperol Spritz is perhaps the most easy- drinking cocktail in the world, made for long afternoons at piazzas, patios and picnic tables.

Aperol has long been at home in Italy’s spritz, and as it’s crossed the pond, it’s gotten picked up and incorporated in new cocktails. Here are 20 ways to keep in your drinks arsenal for warm-weather sipping.

Aperitivo del Nonno A bright and bitter aperitivo that transcends the seasons.

Amen Corner A simple twist on the original Paper Plane.

Basil Daisy A bright and herbaceous mix of vodka, Aperol, simple syrup, lemon juice and fresh basil.

Blended Aperol Spritz Fresh lime and orange juice bring a sweet, citrusy zip to this frozen spritz.

Clockwork Orange Aquavit anchors coffee, orange, Aperol and bitters in this lovely nightcap.

Countess of the Caribbean A sultry mix of aged rum, sherry and two Italian liqueurs.

Daybreaker When the juiciness of sangria meets the sparkle of a spritz.

Passion Fruit Cocktail Rye whiskey builds a sturdy backbone for this summery cocktail.

Paper Plane A bitter butterfly rooted in amaro and whiskey.

Naked and Famous A modern classic made with Aperol and mezcal.

Negroni di Aquila A softer take on the Sbagliato.

Strawberry Rhubarb Margarita Fresh ingredients make all the difference in this seasonal margarita.

Steelroller A cocktail that’ll warm you through and through.

Tasteful Nudes Rosemary and tequila perk up with Aperol and grapefruit.

The Last Shandy The classic shandy gets a bitter twist with grapefruit-kissed Aperol.

Tequila Watermelon Slushy Refreshing, balanced and a snap to whip up.

Tropic Like It’s Hot A winning mix of white rum, yellow Chartreuse, pineapple sage and Aperol.

Waterproof Watch A Negroni variation with Aperol and Amaro Montenegro.

Wicked Behavior Whiskey and pineapple lead the charge in this complex medley.

Yellowbelly Vino Punch The Aperol Spritz inspired this holiday punch.

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