20 Best Cocktails To Make With Aperol

When someone mentions the word Aperol, you might automatically think of an Aperol spritz. Sure, that's a great drink to make with Aperol. We can't complain about the ease of preparation or the refreshing taste this spritz can offer. But this Italian apéritif has a lot more to add when it comes to mixed drinks. According to Eater, Aperol was introduced in 1919 in Padova by the Barbieri brothers and instantly became the go-to for a light and boozy spritz. Its deep orange-red color instantly transforms any ol' cocktail into something more electrifying. 

And while we love a good Aperol spritz, we're here to show you there are plenty more drinks to enjoy where that came from. We scoured high and low to find the 20 best cocktails to make with Aperol, including everything from super simple sips to more involved drinks that will show up any master mixologist. Get that bottle of Aperol ready.

1. Division Bell

The Division Bell is not a very old cocktail. In fact, according to the Educated Barfly, this drink first came about back in 2009, making it somewhat of a newbie. It was originated by bartender Phil Ward in New York City for the opening of the East Village's Mayahuel Mexican cocktail bar. The bar is known for its vast mezcal selection (with more than 60 to choose from), which makes sense why this mezcal-infused cocktail was made for it. 

But you don't just have to pull a seat up at this bar to enjoy the Division Bell. It can be crafted at your home bar, too. You'll need mezcal, Aperol, and Maraschino, a "liqueur obtained from the distillation of Marasca cherries" that goes back to 1821, says Luxardo. Shake the ingredients together with ice and strain them into a glass. For the final touch, add a grapefruit twist for the perfect garnish.

2. Paper Plane

A paper plane might be something you made in grade school to pass notes around to your friends in class, but it's also a pretty stand-up drink. It hasn't been around too long, though. It was originally created in 2008 by New York City bartender Sam Ross, says Liqour.com, but it was actually made for the swanky bar in Chicago called The Violet Hour. Ross got the idea thanks to the popular song at the time — you may have heard of it — called "Paper Planes" by M.I.A. And for his garnish, he used an actual paper plane.

Create this drink at home by listening to some M.I.A. and collecting your ingredients: bourbon, Aperol, Amaro, and lime or lemon juice. Shake everything together, but don't overdo it since you don't want it to be too watered down and diluted. And if you're feeling extra whimsical, garnish with your own paper plane. 

3. Aperol Spritz

The Aperol spritz is the drink to make with, you guessed it, Aperol. And there's a reason for it. Aperol says it's all in the flavor combination (one that's orange and bittersweet), making for a light and refreshing drink. It was originally thought of as the ideal aperitivo in Veneto when paired with appetizers before a meal. Nowadays, it's a favorite for any time of day, and before or after a big meal. The Savvy Working Mom says it's the new brunch cocktail (move over mimosa) and is pretty easy to make — something we can't argue.

The main ingredients here are simple: Aperol and bubbles (such as Prosecco or sparkling wine), but you can also add club soda. And while you don't necessarily need it to complete the drink, we say an orange slice is an ideal garnish when you truly want the ultimate form of this citrusy drink.  

4. Aperol Punch

We love a good punch (of a beverage, that is). They are tasty, easy to make, and great for a big crowd. A punch can come in a variety of ways using anything from Prosecco and port to good ol' fashion rum and pineapple. But punch can also be made with Aperol, making the possibilities endless. You can mix your Aperol punch with any spirit and a variety of fruity additions to freshen it up. 

Taste And See says gin and sparkling wine mixed with Aperol creates the ideal punch, especially when using muddled rosemary and grapefruit juice for a gorgeous-looking cocktail with a refreshing taste. Salt & Wind says strawberries are key when making an Aperol punch ideal for the hot summer months. With a drink this versatile and delicious, no matter how it's made, no wonder we think a punch is one of the best cocktails to make with Aperol.

5. Negroni

The Negroni is a classic cocktail that's been around for quite some time. According to Spirit of York Distillery Co., it first came about in Italy in the 1860s and has since become a favorite among many. Typically, a Negroni is made of gin, Campari, sweet vermouth, and garnished with an orange slice. However, Campari can be swapped out with Aperol, says Aubrey's Kitchen, which will add more of a delicious orange flavor. 

For those who are new to the Negroni, The Endless Meal says using Aperol instead of Campari can make this drink less bitter and easier on the palate (as these drinks can be quite potent). Make this drink simply by mixing all the listed ingredients with ice and stirring before pouring it into a glass and garnishing it with an orange peel (perfect to make along with an Aperol spritz where you garnish with an orange slice).

6. Aperol Margarita

Sometimes you don't want to fix something that isn't broken. We get it. That sentiment pretty much goes for the classic margarita. Made with tequila, lime juice, and Cointreau, this staple cocktail is perfect as is, so why even try to change it, right? Well, that is unless you add Aperol to the mix, which you might want to try after you hear us out. Zestful Kitchen says by doing that, you get two delicious cocktails (a margarita and an Aperol spritz) in one. An Aperol margarita is a nod to another drink, called the Dead Man's Handle, which comes from Miss Carousel's cocktail bar in Houston. 

Mastering a solid margarita should never be hard, and neither should one be made with Aperol. Simply swap out the Cointreau with Aperol and combine with tequila and lime juice, says Delicious. Then, try creating your own orange salt rim for the final finishing touch. Cheers!

7. The Boulevardier

When you want that perfectly smooth drink, you ask for The Boulevardier. It dates all the way back to the Prohibition era and was Erskine Gwynne's drink of choice — an American writer who lived in Paris in the 1920s and the editor of a publication called "The Boulevardier," says The Bourbon Review. It's typically made with bourbon, Campari, and vermouth with either lemon garnishes or orange garnishes. However, similar to so many other classic cocktails, The Boulevardier can also be changed up a bit to reflect your preferences and tastes. 

For us, we are all about adding Aperol to the cocktail. Fine Cooking says that by switching Aperol with the usual Campari, the overall taste is less bitter and welcoming to the palate. Mix the ingredients with ice, stir, and pour into a glass before rubbing a lemon peel along the rim and dropping it into the drink.

8. Aperol Sangria

There are a lot of cocktails out there that have been around for a long time. But probably not as long as the original sangria. This fruity drink dates back to 200 B.C., with the Romans enjoying punches made with Spanish red wines they soon called sangrias, says Fire on Ice on Toby Creek. Later on, Europe picked up the trend, and fruit was eventually added to the wine-based concoction. It's no surprise sangria has left a lasting impression on our cocktail culture, as it's as easy to sip on as any good fruit juice. And since you can make this drink in so many different ways, it also shouldn't be a surprise that we think it's one of the best cocktails to make with Aperol.

My Modern Cookery says making sangria with Aperol can instantly turn into an Aperol spritz sangria — perfect for a big group who loves something fresh and fruity (you can use both orange and grapefruit juice along with club soda for additional bubbles). Party perfect, right?

9. Bird of Paradise

When summer hits, we love throwing a good tiki party, if only for the drinks. According to MasterClass, a tiki cocktail is typically rum-based and made to be colorful, fruity, and well-decorated. Sipping on one of these will have you thinking you are chilling poolside with the warm breeze in your hair and sunshine on your face, even if you are home on your sofa in the dead of winter. 

While tiki cocktails come in many variations, we can't help but love the Birds of Paradise made with Aperol. Bon Appétit says this drink is a play on the Jungle Bird tiki drink (made with Campari) and originated thanks to Austin's tiki bar called Pool Burger. Here, you add rum, Aperol, pineapple juice, lime juice, and simple syrup into a shaker with ice before giving it a good shake and pouring it into a glass with ice. Elaborate tiki-inspired garnishes (umbrellas and creatures) are optional but highly encouraged. 

10. Aperol and Soda

While some drinks call for more bells and whistles, we often really enjoy the simpler things in life. What's simpler than, say, an Aperol and soda? Keeping It Simple says this drink is the ideal aperitif and is luckily super fast and simple to make. Who doesn't love to come home after a long day and enjoy a drink that can be whipped up fast without a lot of thought process behind it? We're all about it, especially when the temperatures heat up and the humidity starts to rise, and we're just too tired to think.

You can make this drink to your liking, of course, but in truth, you only need two key ingredients: Aperol and soda water. You can also use simple syrup, if you like, for a touch of sweetness. So Happy You Liked It says adding some fresh rosemary as a garnish will help make the drink a little more fragrant, and slices of orange can add extra color. 

11. Aperol Cosmopolitan

You may know the cosmopolitan (or "cosmo" for short) from its many appearances in the original "Sexy and the City" series from the late 90s and early 2000s, but it has been around much longer than that, says VinePair. Its exact origin is unclear, but it potentially comes from the 19th-century drink called "Daisy," and then two bartenders from Miami and Providence added their own spin to it. However, it wasn't until 1987 that the drink went by the name we know today when bartender Toby Cecchini made it at Odeon in New York City. 

The cosmo is usually made with vodka, cranberry juice, lime, and Cointreau (or triple sec), says Inspired Taste, and has a taste that is both sweet and tart. However, some may feel this drink is just a bit too tart. That's where the Aperol comes in. Basil and Bubbly says using Aperol instead of Cointreau can help create a smoother balance with the sweet and tart flavors, so you're not hit with an ultra sour sip.

12. Aperol Gin and Tonic

A gin and tonic will rarely disappoint. It's a staple that's been around for some time, and is incredibly popular in the summer, says Moody Mixologist. Luckily, it only has two main ingredients to worry about (hint: they're in the name). Since these two ingredients are key players in this drink, it's important to have the highest quality gin and tonic possible for the best flavor.  

Of course, you can still have fun with your gin and tonic. Change the recipe around a bit by adding different ingredients, such as some herbs and citrus. We say that you can even add Aperol to enhance the taste. But don't just take our word for it. Something New For Dinner says an Aperol gin and tonic is refreshing with lots of orange flavors, especially when you add orange bitters and orange zest. A sprig of fresh rosemary always makes for a gorgeous garnish against all that orange, too.

13. Morrison Mule

Everyone knows a Moscow mule. It's that drink served in a cold copper mug and made of vodka, ginger beer, and lime, says Esquire. It's an oldie but a goodie, as a Moscow mule has been around for about 75 years, according to The New York Times, and still going strong. There is also the Kentucky mule, which is made of whiskey instead of vodka, says Pakoc Imports, and came along sometime after the Moscow mule. 

But what about a Morrison mule? Now that's a drink that might not sound as familiar. Its exact creation date is unknown, but what we do know is it comes from Benton Bourgeois of Hot Tin bar located at the Pontchartrain Hotel in New Orleans, says Food & Wine. It was named after Jim Morrison after he stayed at the property. This rendition uses bourbon, ginger beer, and Aperol, and don't worry, it is still served in that iconic copper cup.

14. Red Wine Spritzer

Do you know what we crave in the summer heat? Red wine. Well, when it's mixed into a refreshing spritzer, that is. And a wine spritzer can be extremely versatile, too, depending on what you like and what you have on hand. At the minimum, all you need is red wine and club soda, says Dinner, Dishes & Desserts, but you can add plenty more where that comes from, including citrus and fresh fruit. 

Another ingredient you might want to add to the red wine and club soda mix is Aperol. Martha Stewart says a light red wine, such as a pinot noir, is a great option when making a red wine spritzer with Aperol. It just helps keep things more refreshing for summertime sipping. Taming of the Spoon says the light, sparkling red wine called Lambrusco can also work well when making a spritz with Aperol, as it offers some bubbles. 

15. Bitter Peach Bellini

According to Eataly, thanks to Giuseppe Cipriani from Harry's Bar in Venezia, the Bellini has been around since 1948. Since it first came about, this pretty cocktail served in a flute has been a brunch staple both at restaurants and at home. Speaking of making one at home, it's the perfect, simple beverage to make when you have guests to cook pancakes and eggs for. All you need for this stunner is Prosecco and peaches, says Pinch and Swirl, but you can also add in other fruit, such as raspberries. 

That's all fine, but we're here to talk about the best cocktails to make with Aperol, so you probably know where this is going. Meet the Bitter Peach Bellini. Via Umbria says adding Aperol into the mix helps to not only enhance it to a bright orange color but also presents just a touch of bitterness to help keep things from being overly sweet. 

16. Aperol-Bourbon Fizz

While snuggled up next to a warm fire, a bourbon fizz is a popular drink to sip. But, really, you can enjoy it just about any time of the year (not just when it's freezing outside). The drink gets its name because it's made of bourbon and something bubbly, such as sparkling water (hello, fizz), says Half Baked Harvest, but it can have many other ingredients, like cinnamon, to bring out the winter flavors. 

Another ingredient that can be used in a bourbon fizz is Aperol. According to Southern Living, adding this Italian apéritif will instantly turn this drink into an Aperol-bourbon fizz, and it can also include simply syrup and an orange wedge to garnish. But the recipe is in your court, so do as you please. As long as you have the main ingredients to work with (Aperol, bourbon, and soda water), you'll be able to master this drink with ease and customize it to your liking. 

17. Little Italy

Most of us are no stranger to the classic cocktail the Manhattan. It truly is a one-of-a-kind, well-crafted drink that won't let you down — when done correctly. The Sip Awards says the Manhattan has been around since the late 1800s and is usually crafted of whiskey and sweet vermouth but has been known to be tweaked over the years by mixologists serving it at their establishments. One tweak is adding in Aperol to get what is called the Little Italy. 

With its deep color and cherry garnish, this drink looks a lot like a Manhattan. However, it's a tad different, says Cocktail Contessa, as it includes three staple ingredients rather than just the two, as well as a hint of bittersweet flavor. Little Italy first got its start in 2005 when Audrey Saunders made it a Pegu Club (though this rendition did not include Aperol but a liqueur called Cynar, instead).

18. Raspberry and Aperol Float

There is nothing better than an ice cream float on a hot day. Well, unless it is made with alcohol. We love a good boozy float that elevates our favorite childhood drink into a delicious adult version. And there are plenty of different floats to try, making it an endless possibility of deliciousness. You can choose to mix coca-cola with bourbon, says Sew White, or get caffeinated with coffee and rum, according to Delish. No matter what variation you land on, this dessert beverage will be tasty. 

But if you're in the mood for something on the fruitier side, we say give a raspberry and Aperol float a try. The main things you'll need here are already stated in the name: raspberries, Aperol, and, of course, ice cream. Epicurious says Aperol is nice and sweet (especially when compared to Campari) which can complement the float's flavor nicely.  

19. Aperol-Kombucha Cocktail

A lot of people are talking about kombucha — and for good reason. It is a popular tea that's fermented with sugar, yeast, and bacteria, says the Mayo Clinic. It can possibly have some health benefits, such as helping keep your immune system healthy. According to Market Watch, kombucha has been around for a long time but only recently gained popularity among Americans, calling it "one of the fastest-growing grocery segments in the past decade."  

And while you can drink kombucha on its own, it's much more spirited to enjoy in a cocktail. Say hello to your next must-try: the Aperol-kombucha cocktail. This drink only calls for Aperol and soda water (or something similarly fizzy) and a spirit of your choosing (which can be mezcal, tequila, or gin, says Punch Fork). A drink that comes with all these options and possible health benefits from kombucha sounds like a major winner in our book. 

20. Descanso Beach Smash

If you're looking for a new drink to make with your rye whiskey, look no further. We have you covered via the Descanso Beach Smash. Imbibe says the original Smash has been around since 1862, providing drinkers with a fruity cocktail that goes down easy. According to Perfect Company, a man named John Coltharp came up with the Descanso Beach Smash somewhere near Catalina Island, but the rest of the history is blurry. We may not exactly know when the Descanso Beach Smash came about, but we're sure happy it did. In our opinion, it's by far one of the best cocktails to make with Aperol. 

The Descanso Beach Smash is usually made with Aperol, rye whiskey, and simple syrup, says Relish, but can also come with other additions, such as orange and lemon slices and fresh, aromatic herbs like mint. New Castle Liquors says mint and lemon can be muddled and kept at the bottom of the glass before adding the rest of the ingredients for the most refreshing sip.