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The Next Time You Want an Aperol Spritz, Make One of These Cocktails Instead

26 March 2024
by Regan Hofmann
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Up the ante on the famous sparkling sipper with this collection of sophisticated recipes.

Long a local Venetian specialty, the Aperol spritz made the leap to international celebrity status in the past two decades. Now, the sunset-colored cocktail made with the gently bitter liqueur Aperol is the first thing many drinkers think of when they hear the word “spritz”—a fact that makes many Italians groan. As they’ll point out, a spritz can be made with any amaro, from dark, artichoke-derived Cynar to blood-red Campari, simply by adding prosecco and a splash of sparkling water. And no matter how you make it, the spritz is the quintessential aperitivo drink, with a bright effervescence and lower alcohol content that makes it just right for pre-dinner socializing.

While we still love an Aperol spritz, sometimes we want to get a little fancier when aperitivo hour rolls around. In addition to setting out a spread of some of our favorite Italian snacks, mixing up one of these simply sophisticated cocktail recipes takes our hosting game to the next level. The next time you’re planning an aperitivo hour, level up your cocktails with one of these recipes:

Amaro Whiskey Spritz

Amaro Whiskey Spritz 

For those who want their spritz to pack a little more oomph, this warmly spiced cocktail combines the dark amaro of your choice with a splash of rye whiskey.
Honey Lavender Gin Spritz

Honey Lavender Gin Spritz

To add a delicately floral touch, this easy-to-make cocktail combines monovarietal honey and dried lavender for a drink that’s as refreshing as it is elegant.
Negroni Sbagliato

Negroni Sbagliato 

The negroni gets the spritz treatment by replacing its trademark gin with sparkling wine. The word sbagliato means “mistaken” or “messed up,” but we’d argue there’s nothing wrong with this well-balanced drink.
Lemon Basil Spritz

Lemon-Basil Spritz

Tart, refreshing, and gently herbaceous from the muddled basil, this southern Italy-inspired spritz uses limoncello as well as fresh lemon juice for a double dose of sunshiney citrus. 
Lambrusco Spritz

Lambrusco Spritz 

Instead of prosecco, this ruby-hued cocktail uses the sparkling red wine known as lambrusco, from Emilia-Romagna, to add the fizz. Lambrusco’s notes of berry and red fruit make for an especially flavorful spritz.
Bellini

Bellini

Invented at the legendary Harry’s Bar in Venice, this fruity cocktail is also a brunch staple. With juicy peach puree and prosecco, it’s a nice choice for those who don’t like the bitter edge of many spritzes.

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