What’s the Deal with Aperol Spritz?

If you visit Italy in the summer time, then chances are you’ve seen Italians and tourists alike relaxing at a bar enjoying a glass of something so vibrantly orange that it could be mistaken for a nuclear experiment.

This vibrant aperitif enjoyed all over Italy, as well as elsewhere around the globe, is Aperol Spritz, a bittersweet cocktail made with Aperol liqueur, Prosecco and soda water, and usually served over ice and garnished with a slice of orange.*

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Aperol originates from Padua in North Italy (not far from Venice) and dates back to post-First World War Italy. However, it was only in the 1950s that the famous Spritz made its entrance onto Italy’s social scene, where it immediately became popular with young Italians and was associated with glamour and the cosmopolitan vibe of Italy’s most iconic cities.

Since 2000, Aperol Spritz has gained popularity as an aperitif and cocktail, and can be found in many bars in the UK and, of course, bars and cafes all around Italy.

But who first created this iconic Italian cocktail? Well, the history of the drink is a little shakey but it is widely considered to have been inspired by the tradition of mixing wine and soda, which was common in Veneto thanks to the region’s history of being part of the Austrian Empire when the Austrian Spritzer was popular. According to legend, the Austrian soldiers residing in Veneto were not used to the strength of the local wines and so asked for a splash of water to be added to their drink. Over the years, this evolved with the addition of bitter liqueurs, including Aperol, Campari and Select, and so the Aperol Spritz was born. However, it wasn’t really until Gruppo Campari took over Barbero 1891 (who owned Aperol) in 2003 that the drink really came to the forefront of Italy’s social scene. And, thanks to Gruppo Campari’s continued efforts to promote Aperol, it is now Italy’s best-selling bitter liqueur!

 

*To make the perfect Aperol Spritz, mix 3 parts Prosecco and 2 parts Aperol, and then add a dash of soda water.

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