It’s not really summer until you’ve had an Aperol Spritz, so find out the history of your go-to drink.

Last week The New York Times officially declared the Aperol Spritz “not a good drink”, and quickly sent the entirety of the internet into a frenzy. The drink is a classic Italian aperitif, usually enjoyed in the early evening to open the appetite before dinner. It’s bubbly and vivid and a perfect Instagram drink (and many would agree, it’s a perfect drink in general). The bubbles come from prosecco and soda water, but what exactly is Aperol?

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Well, we’re glad you asked. Aperol, as discussed is a slightly bitter Italian aperitif made from a secret combination of herbs and plants, like sweet oranges, rhubarb, quina and gentian. It took the Barbieri brothers seven years of experimentation to perfect their recipe, finalising it in 1912 in their hometown of Padua.

Read more: Know Your Spirits: Fernet 

Once created, it took a few years for Aperol to take off in Italy. By 1919, just after World War I, the drink was gaining popularity throughout Italy. Younger generations were attracted by its vivid hue and refreshing properties, enjoying it with their pre-dinner aperitivo. But Aperol became truly iconic in 1950, with the invention of the Aperol Spritz.

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The Aperol Spritz, perhaps the most famous Aperol-based cocktail, is equal parts prosecco and Aperol, topped with a dash of soda and an orange slice, served over ice. It became an instant classic, and part of a lifestyle. Aperol’s chic advertising campaigns helped make the drink fashionable around the world, and to this day, the posters maintain that elegant flair that’s become synonymous with Aperol.

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Read more: Hong Kong’s Best Aperitivo Spreads 

Aperol was bought by the Campari Group in 2000, but don’t confuse the two. Though they have similar flavour profiles, Aperol has a much lower alcohol content and a brighter colour.

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Now that you know all about Aperol, why not go out and try an Aperol Spritz for yourself? Stazione Novella is famous for their ‘Summer of Spritz’, with glasses of Aperol Spritz starting at just HK$58 every Monday. Get their early, snag a table and live the Italian life as you snack on their aperitivo spread.

Stazione Novella
52-56 Staunton Street, SoHo; +852 2559 0559

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