Italian Summer

Words by Tash McGill

Picture yourself strolling through the vibrant streets of an Italian town during the late afternoon – finally enjoying a touch of European summer! This summer is the perfect time to indulge in the most popular Italian aperitif ever created – Aperol. First released in Padua, Italy in 1919, Aperol is full of vibrant bittersweet citrus and botanicals but an easy-going alcohol content of only 11%. It’s the perfect time to immerse yourself in this iconic Italian style of drinking and dive into the fascinating world of Aperol cocktails. This delightful orange spirit can bring a touch of Italy to your gatherings this summer.

Aperol is an aperitivo, that will awaken the palate, making it an ideal choice for pre-dinner sipping, as it livens the taste buds without overwhelming them.

The Aperol Spritz is a simple combination of Aperol, prosecco, and sparkling water that can be made in single serves or by the jug for a summer barbecue. You’ll discover a thirst-quenching cocktail that can transport you to the sun-soaked Mediterranean beaches or an Italian palazzo, or even a sunny café patio for brunch.

Aperol Spritz

While any sparkling wine can be combined with Aperol and soda, for an authentic Aperol Spritz experience, it’s worth seeking out an Italian Prosecco. Prosecco comes in a range of sweetness levels, so you can choose one that perfectly suits your palate.

90ml prosecco

60ml Aperol

30ml soda or sparkling water

Garnish: orange slice

Add the prosecco, Aperol, and soda to a wine glass filled with ice and stir. Garnish with an orange slice.



After dinner, or if your palate leans bolder, this summer is the perfect time to try a new classic Aperol cocktail. The Paper Plane was created by New York City bartender Sam Ross in 2008. The cocktail recipe quickly travelled the world becoming one of the most popular modern classics in recent history. With added complexity from sweet American bourbon and added vermouth, the Paper Plane showcases the diversity of Aperol and those bittersweet botanicals.

20ml bourbon

20ml Aperol

20ml sweet vermouth/Amaro

20ml lemon juice, freshly squeezed

Add the bourbon, Aperol, vermouth, and lemon juice into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.

Strain into a coupe glass.

TASH MCGILL Co founder of The Feed, Tash is one of New Zealand’s leading spirits writers, industry advocates and educators, as well as chairperson of the New Zealand Whisky Association and President of the NZ Food Writers.

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