Like it or not, the Aperol Spritz cocktail has become synonymous with warm weather and relaxation in recent years. While it's hard not to be taken with the drink's Instagram-worthy orange hue, slightly bitter and tangy taste, and refreshing mouthfeel, there are dozens of spritzes that are just as delicious (if not more so) than the wildly popular Aperol-based beverage.
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As you may know after whipping up many drinks of your own, a spritz is an aperitivo cocktail that generally consists of a bitter liqueur, prosecco, and a splash of sparkling water. In the case of the Aperol Spritz, the aperitif in question is, well, Aperol, but all you need to do is make a simple one-ingredient swap and use a different aperitif to create an entirely distinct spritz. So, whether you're all out of Aperol or simply want to give the Italian liqueur a rest, keep reading for seven new and easy spritz recipes!
If you typically find Aperol Spritzes to be too sweet, try a Campari Spritz instead. Campari, which is also an Italian aperitif, is more bitter than Aperol, and has a significantly higher alcohol content as well. The result is a more intense drink that will give you a pleasant buzz. To make a Campari Spritz, mix together two parts Campari, three parts prosecco, and one part soda water and serve over ice.
For a version of this cocktail that's slightly less intense, try a Campari Soda With Orange. This libation uses orange juice in place of prosecco, and calls for a generous pour of soda water to help balance out the Campari.
If you're not familiar with Lillet, do yourself a favor and buy a bottle of the wine-based aperitif, which is made in the Bordeaux region of the South of France. Since it's made with wine, there's no need for prosecco in this drink. Lillet's wine base also means you may spot Lillet Rouge, Lillet Rosé, and Lillet Blanc at your local liquor store. For spritz purposes, you'll want to use the rosé or blanc varieties.
To make a Lillet Spritz, simply combine equal parts Lillet Blanc or Lillet Rosé and soda water, and serve over ice. If you don't have carbonated water, use tonic water instead. And feel free to get creative with garnishes too. Refreshing options such as cucumber, mint, and strawberry slices all work well.
While many consumers are at least somewhat familiar with Aperol and Campari, Cappelletti is an Italian aperitif that doesn't quite have the same name recognition in America, at least not yet. Like Aperol and Campari, Cappelletti is bitter and herbal, but it also boasts a subtle sweetness that won't overwhelm your taste buds. Since Cappelletti is wine-based aperitif, it has a pleasant, dry finish and yields a light spritz that's ideal for those who don't like drinks that are too strong or sweet. Pro tip: Use Cappelletti to help craft a riff on the classic Boulevardier, or try it in place of Campari in a negroni.
To make a Cappelletti Spritz, combine two parts Cappelletti with three parts prosecco and one part soda water and serve over ice. Garnish with a lemon or orange wheel.
Select is a bitter Venetian aperitif that has been around for more than 100 years, and with good reason. Made with botanicals such as rhubarb and juniper, Select has a subtle complexity that you won't find in Aperol and the like.
To make a Select Spritz, combine two parts Select with three parts prosecco and one part soda water and serve over ice. Garnish with a green olive. Believe it or not, the brininess of the garnish pairs beautifully with Select's bitter and floral notes.
For a drink that can be sipped before or after meals, give a Cynar Spritz a whirl. While Cynar is yet another Italian aperitif, its artichoke base (mixed with 12 other herbs and plants) sets it apart from other liqueurs and gives it a much darker color, similar to that of a cola. Cynar is bittersweet and boasts a bitter herbal finish, but notes of caramel, toffee and cinnamon make it a great addition to a spritz. While still sweet, it's not quite as sweet as Aperol.
To make a Cynar Spritz, combine two parts Cynar with three parts prosecco and one part soda water and serve over ice. Garnish with a lemon wedge, or get creative and finish off the drink with mint leaves and fresh raspberries.
St‑Germain, which was created in 2007, is a French liqueur made with fresh elderflowers, and it boasts notes of tropical fruits, juicy pear, subtle citrus, and a hint of honeysuckle. Its light color and refreshing taste make it the ideal spritz component. A basic St‑Germain Spritz is made with St‑Germain, prosecco, and soda water, but for something a touch fancier try a Hugo Spritz instead. In a Hugo Spritz, you'll add fresh mint leaves and a lime wedge to the mix, which bring bright and zesty notes to the drink and pair well with the elderflower flavor of the liqueur.
To make a Hugo Spritz, add ice to a wine glass and pour in 1.5 parts St‑Germain, along with eight mint leaves. Add two parts prosecco and two parts soda water and stir. Garnish with a mint sprig and lime wedge.
If you tend to like your drinks on the sweeter side, we have a feeling you're going to love the Ambrosia Spritz. The aperitif used here is Ambrosia, which is aptly named the nectar of the gods. It has roots in Italy, but is actually produced by the Don Ciccio & Figli distillery in Washington, D.C. Ambrosia is sweeter than Aperol and has a mild bitterness that actually unfolds as you sip it, as opposed to all at once. The U.S.-made herbal liqueur has notes of turmeric, blood orange, cantaloupe, carrots, and nine botanicals, which gives it more of a full-bodied taste. In addition to prosecco, Ambrosia pairs well with mezcal.
To make an Ambrosia Spritz, combine 1.5 parts Ambrosia with two parts prosecco and a splash of soda water and serve over ice. Garnish with an orange wheel.