Entrepreneur. Cocktail and spirit champion. Old world wine provocateur.
Campari is one of my favorite spirits and one that I often find myself reaching for. I thoroughly enjoy it. But from time to time, I find myself picking Aperol off the shelf instead. For the uninitiated, Aperol has a similar flavor profile to Campari with notes of orange and rhubarb, but is lower in alcohol and slightly sweeter. It is by no means sweet, as it still finishes bitter, but the bitterness is more restrained. And at only 11% abv, Aperol gives you the opportunity to drink more and to do so for longer periods of time! Low alcohol cocktails are always great to have in your arsenal and this is one of my favorites.
For this cocktail, I start with a basic “sour” classification, pulling a base spirit, a sweetener and lemon juice. To improve upon the basic recipe, I use Cocchi Americano as my sweetener and add Bitter Truth Grapefruit Bitters for added complexity. Cocchi Americano is a bittersweet liqueur that uses Moscato d’Asti as a base and is flavored with cincona bark, citrus and spices. Cincona bark is a source of quinine, the bitter component that you find in tonic water. This bitterness gives Cocchi Americano a more complex edge that some of its sweetened counterparts. The ingredients in Cocchi have some overlap with Aperol and make these two a great pairing.
The addition of grapefruit bitters to the cocktail adds more bitterness along with complimentary citrus notes. Using the slightly sweeter Aperol as a starting point allows me to add more complex bitter notes via other liquors and liqueurs. Check out this recipe below.
2 oz Aperol
1 oz Cocchi Americano
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 Dash Bitter Truth Grapefruit Bitters
Combine the Aperol, Cocchi, lemon and bitters in a shaker and shake to combine. Strain over new ice into a rocks glass and garnish with an orange peel.