Drink of the Week: The Aperol Fizz


Labor Day weekend is here and I’ve got a simple, sweet, and icy-cold refresher to cap off this long, hot, and tense summer.

Our main ingredient is an increasingly popular Italian aperitif that has been accurately described as Campari with training wheels. Campari itself can be accurately described as the sweetest thing you’ve ever tasted followed by the most bitter thing to have ever assaulted your tongue. It’s the rare bird who will drink it straight – I have and I find it oddly invigorating – but not everyone likes it even in its most traditional habitats, a Negroni or an Americano.

With only half of the alcohol content and much less bitterness, Aperol is Campari’s gentler little sister. The taste may strike you as orangey but it’s actually a blend of herbals and rhubarb. Its gentle nature has made it one of the more crowd-pleasing ingredients in the ongoing US cocktail revival, particularly in the form of an Aperol Spritz or a Paper Plane, both drinks I promise to get to sooner or later.

Now, here’s a drink that probably won’t get you drunk but you might want to look at your A1C if you have more than two.

The Aperol Fizz

2 ounces Aperol
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
¼-½ ounce sugar syrup or 1-2 teaspoons of superfine sugar to taste (see below)
½ ounce egg white
Club soda or plain seltzer, pre-chilled
Grapefruit or orange twist

Combine all of the liquid ingredients except the soda in a cocktail shaker. Dry shake without ice to emulsify the egg white. Then add lots of ice and shake until your arms are tired and your hands are freezing off. Strain into a well-chilled Tom Collins glass. Carefully add your pre-chilled plain soda. The drink will develop quite a head. Add a grapefruit or orange twist and wait a minute or so to allow the fizzy white head to fully separate from the orange liquid. Sip but watch out for brain freeze. If you make this drink right, it’s a possibility!


Fizzes are a special favorite for me mixed-drink families, when egg white is involved and I’m not quite sure why they are not more popular, especially now word is finally starting to get out that egg white in drinks is not slimy or viscous. This drink is perfect for when you want a very light, very sweet refresher and it’s ideal for lightweights. For seasoned cocktailians, however, it might be best thought of as an occasional change of pace or a last drink to wrap up the evening.

Since there’s only one brand of Aperol , the main difference in possible iterations of the Aperol Fizz is how much, and what kind, of sugar or sugar syrup to use. This recipe is adapted from one reportedly used at San Francisco’s Cotagna Restaurant which specifies a syrup using cane sugar from the island of St. Martinque. Acknowledging that particular variety of chunky browish cane sugar is not so easy to come by, the Serious Eats recipe I’m borrowing allows for making our own double-strength rich-type syrup using demerara or turbinado sugar. (I had the former on hand.) It’s not hard to make – just 1 part water to two parts unrefined sugar dissolved slowly on a stove – but I’m not sure you need to. While my demerara syrup added some richness, this formulation may be just too darn sweet for an inherently sweet beverage.

I suppose you can add more lemon juice but the simpler solution is to go for regular simple syrup (equal parts plain white sugar and water) or, as I did, just throw a teaspoon or two of superfine sugar into the drink. I went with the minimum amount of just one teaspoon and found the results a bit tangier, more refreshing, and less worrying, endocrinology-wise.


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