Celebrate National Spritz Day with one of summer’s best cocktails

By Shelley Boettcher

An Aperol Spritz has to be one of the most refreshing and fun cocktails for summer—or, really, any time. It’s relatively low in alcohol. It’s delicious. It’s pretty. Serve some to your guests at your next casual gathering. Every time I have one, I feel like I’m back in Italy, sitting on a cafe patio on a hot afternoon, watching the world go by.  National Spritz Day is Aug. 1 – time to celebrate?

Aperol is a type of bittersweet liqueur that was invented in Padua, Italy, by two brothers, Luigi and Silvio Barbieri, who had inherited the business from their father.

It took them seven years to develop their drink, which was released in 1919, just after the end of the First World War.

Legend has it that Silvio named their creation Aperol after the French word “apero”

Then, and now, Aperol is made from a mix of plants, including  rhubarb, bitter orange, gentian and cinchona, a type of bark that contains quinine—used to fight malaria. Cinchona is also credited with being a digestif that stimulates the appetite. 

By the 1950s, Aperol was massively popular in Italy and around the world. (Vintage Aperol ads are the best!)

Even today, an Aperol Spritz is really easy to make. We use wine glasses, but you can use rocks glasses if you prefer.

Aperol Spritz
1. Fill your glass with ice.

2. Add three parts chilled Prosecco, two parts Aperol, plus a splash of sparkling water.  (You have to add the Prosecco first, so that the Aperol doesn’t settle on the bottom of the glass.)

3. Add a wheel of orange, if you want, and serve. Cheers!