Aperol Liquor Review

A popular apéritif now enjoyed around the world, Aperol is a bright red beverage with a distinctively bitter flavour. In this review, you will discover Aperol as I cover the following topics:

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Drink Overview

  • Distillery: Campari
  • Expression: Aperol
  • Variety: Apéritif
  • Region: Padua, Italy
  • Age: NAS
  • Casking: N/A
  • Cask Strength: 35% ABV
  • Pricing:
    • Drizly: From $26 / 75 cl [Buy Now]
    • Reserve Bar: $28 / 75 cl [Buy Now]
  • Parent: Campari Group

Often compared with Campari that was created in 1861, Aperol was released much later in 1919. Its name derives from the French slang from apéritif, “apéro”. Arguably, it bears closer resemblance to the French bitters, Picon, rather than Campari.

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Aperol’s Robe

Aperol Liquor Appearance In Glass

  • Hue: Scarlet
  • Clarity: Mostly Clear
  • Viscosity: Mild

In the light, we’re looking at a slightly orangy colour, but then when in the dark it’s going to have a more red luminescence. Otherwise, you’re looking at sort of off-orange, almost rusty hue.

It’s mostly a very clear beverage. There is some haziness, which I imagine is through the sugar content. As it’s an aperitif that is made by assembling different herbs and spices, it’s quite viscous. However, its sugar produces a syrupy texture.

Any legs are fast and thin given that it’s quite low in alcohol.

Aperol’s Nose

  • Notes: Grapefruit, Labdanum, Orange Zest
  • Nosefeel: Mentholated

It’s somewhat mentholated on the nose. The overall nosefeel tingles the senses, but not in a prickly or an alcoholic way.

The aromas that it delivers consist primarily of bittersweet grapefruit. There’s a hint of muskiness, which I’d associate with labdanum as well as a hint of orange zest. It’s also somewhat herbaceous. It’s not intense nor particularly complex.

Aperol’s Palate & Mouthfeel

Aperol Liquor Lablel & Glass

  • Primary Taste: Bittersweet
  • Mouthfeel: Syrupy
  • Opening:  Orange, Strawberry
  • Heart: Orange Zest, Anise, Rosemary
  • Finish: Short [Gentian, Quinine]

In terms of primary mouthfeel, it’s very bittersweet. It opens up with an overall sweet bouquet, but it’s then quickly overtaken by a certain bitterness. The mouthfeel is quite syrupy. It’s thick and viscous. There is obviously quite a good use of syrup in here to produce that effect.

It opens with a very fruity bouquet, which consists of the orange citrus paired against what I would liken to strawberry. It is very sweet and very fruity. This fruit-forward experience quietly subsides to reveal a zesty heart. It’s far less sweet and now delivers bitter notes. There’s some orange zest, a hint of anise, maybe herbaceous rosemary, too.

The finish and aftertaste is basically just bitter. You may get a whiff of the citrus from earlier.

Nevertheless, the mouth is now dominated by gentian and quinine, which are the two herbs and barks that are used to create the bitter flavour. You’ll often find these in a variety of other aperitifs, such as Gentian, some quinquina and Picon, which I mentioned earlier, and of course Campari.

It’s not complex and the journey is very short. It’s essentially a transition from sweet to bitter. The texture on the palate is light but smooth. Overall, it’s very youthful because that there has been no ageing process. There isn’t much depth and it stays at the top of the palate.

There is some harmony, though, and nicely contrasts sweet flavours against bitter ones. However, the flavours don’t really linger on the palate for long.

How To Drink Aperol

Aperol Spritz

As we often state in our reviews, the best way to drink a beverage is the way that you enjoy it the most. However, if you’re not yet sure how to drink Aperol, we are happy to provide you with a few serving suggestions.

Firstly, although it was sampled neat, Aperol is best consumed as part of a mixer. Typically, it is served as a part of a refreshing Spritz. In fact, it’s not an overly versatile beverage that can be used in a long list of cocktails.

Indeed, this may be somewhat surprising given that its older sibling Campari is an incredibly diverse beverage. Nevertheless, we’ll suggest a few different cocktails below.

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Aperol Cocktail Suggestions

As mentioned above, Aperol is typically served as part of a Spritz. However, we can also suggest the following cocktails with Aperol:

  1. Spritz
  2. Negroni
  3. Airedale
  4. Kir

A Spritz is very easy to make. You can opt for two-thirds sparkling wine, one-third Aperol. However, a half and half portion is quite popular, too. For a much lighter alternative, try a quarter Aperol portion with champagne as well as a dash of soda. Of course, be sure to add a wheel of citrus with some ice.

Otherwise, it can be used to make Negroni. Although this cocktail is best associated with Campari, Aperol is used to make a much lighter, more summery version that is going to be easier to drink in hot weather.

Indeed, Aperol can be used as a lighter alternative to Campari in other cocktails, too. Meanwhile, there are other options like an Airedale, a combination of bourbon whiskey with simple syrup. Finally, a Kir is much like a Spritz except that still wine is used instead of sparkling wine.

Best Pairings With Aperol

Aperol Liquor & Cigar

As an aperitif that you’ll likely enjoy before a meal, snacks like salted peanuts and potato chips are an obvious choice. The added salt will also help offer greater palate stimulation to the simple sweet and bitter accord. Alternatively, you can have it with a dessert such as a fruit sorbet.

And finally, we’re very fond of cigars here at Bespoke Unit. If you want a cigar with your Aperol, whether it’s as a spritz or neat, consider something mild and balanced like an AVO Classic. Similarly, a Cuban La Flor de Cano Magicos has some citrus notes that would go well, too.

Overall Experience & Value For Money

Aperol has a stylish and distinctive label with an art deco-inspired design. The clear glass allows the bright red hue to glow in the bottle.

When it comes to the occasion, it’s a very versatile drink in the formal sense. For instance, you can either choose to pair it with champagne or a more affordable sparkling wine depending on the occasion.

With regard to the value, it’s quite affordable. Expect to pay around $28 in the USA. Meanwhile, it’ll cost about $18 in Europe.

Closing Thoughts

Aperol doesn’t really deliver much complexity or an overly sophisticated experience. Nevertheless, it’s a simple and refreshing aperitif that is just perfect for the summertime.

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"A refreshing summertime beverage."
Bespoke Unit Rating: ★★★

Further Reading

Once you’ve finished reading our review, feel free to peruse our wide range of related content such as the following resources:

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