The Aperol Spritz is one of the most iconic summer drinks—and maybe for spring and early fall too—thanks in part to its parent company Campari’s successful marketing campaign. The cocktail has been around for many decades and has earned its status, because, well, it’s delicious.
One of the most effective parts of Campari’s strategy is their genius 3-to-2-to-1 recipe: three parts prosecco, two parts Aperol, and one part soda. For example, if using 3 ounces prosecco, I’d add 2 ounces Aperol and 1 ounce soda water. It’s impossible to forget and delivers the message: Hey cocktail lovers! This is an easy cocktail that anyone can enjoy. You don’t even need to be a cocktail expert to remember the recipe and make it.
And guess what? That ratio works for making lots of spritzes, not just for Aperol, and it’s helped me—a cocktail expert for well over a decade—relieve some anxiety from the question What should we drink? Here’s how:
What Is a Spritz? (And What It’s Not)
Let’s start by clarifying what a spritz actually is, and what it is not. I see a lot of cocktail menus labeling drinks as spritzes when they are actually not. Bubbly wine, like prosecco, alone does not count. Rather, a spritz must contain digestive bitters.
A spritz is an aperitivo—i.e. what you drink before a meal—and the bitters in the cocktail help awaken the appetite. (I find that by aperitivo hour, I’m already hungry and usually pair my spritzes with small bites, but you get the idea.) A spritz is also low ABV (alcohol by volume)—something to be sipped, not gulped.
How To Use the 3:2:1 Ratio To Make Any Spritz You Heart Desires
Now back to the 3:2:1 ratio. This formula is a reliable formula to create a great-tasting spritz, but depending on what you have in your home bar, not all combinations are delicious. Tinker and taste! And if you’re looking for more inspiration, I love Talia Baiocchi’s Spritz.
3 Parts Wine
Sparkling wines like prosecco or a sparkling rosé are most commonly used, but any non-sparkling wine works as well because bubbles are likely going to be added in the final step—one part soda. Whatever wine you pick, go fancy or mid-range here. Don’t use a budget wine, because even with the bitters added, you’re going to taste the wine and it needs to be delicious.
2 Parts Bitters
Aperol, despite being a sweet, fruity liqueur, falls under the amaro category, which translates to “bitter” in Italian. The bitters are a sharp contrast to the wine and enhance the flavor and potency of your cocktail.
Though a spritz is an Italian cocktail, you don’t have to use an Italian bitter, like Aperol, Campari, or Cynar. Have a French, American, or Spanish vermouth you love? Use it. Feeling adventurous? Try Angostura.
1 Part Soda
Soda water or club soda is most commonly used. The little bubbles are “spritzed” on top and since it is non-alcoholic, it lowers the ABV of the cocktail just a touch. If you’re using a sparkling wine, fresh citrus juice, like orange or grapefruit is a nice touch.
Spritz Recipes I’m Enjoying This Summer
A spritz is wine-based, with a little bitterness and a touch of effervescence. It’s also a no-stress cocktail, so I hope this formula will guide you to find a combination you love. Here are a few spritzes I’m loving right now:
3 parts sparkling rosé
2 parts Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
1 part pink grapefruit juice
3 parts prosecco
2 parts Campari
1 part club soda
(Yes, this is a Negroni Sbagliato, but I up the prosecco.)
3 parts prosecco
2 parts Cynar
1 part blood orange juice