When it comes to light aperitif cocktails (something to enjoy before a meal), the Negroni tends to get a disproportionate amount of attention and adoration. The Negroni is a deliciously simple classic cocktail consisting of equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari. Internationally, the Negroni is commonly served over ice (with a slice of orange), but in the United States it’s more likely to be served “up” in a cocktail glass without ice. The “up” version tends to be a solidly bitter and slightly assertive drink – a good cocktail, but not necessarily something that is very light and refreshing.
The Negroni has its origins as a boozie riff on another classic aperitif cocktail, the Americano. The Americano is simply Campari, sweet vermouth, and soda water (the Negroni omitted the soda and added gin). This lighter, bubblier cocktail is also a template for another fantastically refreshing drink, the Aperol Spritz.
With the Aperol Spritz, it’s Aperol at the core instead of Campari, and Prosecco standing in for much of the soda water. Although they are both Italian aperitif liqueurs, and both bright red, Campari and Aperol are quite different. Often considered the gentler cousin to Campari, Aperol is sweeter, has less alcohol (11% ABV versus Campari’s 24%), and is generally less bitter. Aperol’s affable qualities are best shown off in the the Aperol Spritz where Aperol’s lightly sweet and bitter qualities are well complemented by the prosecco.
2 oz Aperol
3 oz Prosecco
1 Dash Soda
Ice and a slice of Orange
Add ice and a slice of orange, pour in the Prosecco, the Aperol, and add a dash of soda.
Since the Aperol Spritz is built in the glass, there’s no need for any bar making gear, making it one of the easiest cocktails to prepare. It is also relatively low in alcohol, which makes it a nice alternative to drinking rosé, which has become extremely popular during the warm weather months. The Aperol Spritz is another example that great cocktails don’t have to be complicated – just a few ingredients can produce something delicious, flavorful, and refreshing.