For an elegant, beautiful cocktail, you will love every sip of this stunning Aperol sour! With its lively floral undertones, bright citrus notes and that frothy topping, this Aperol-gin cocktail goes down oh-so smoothly and makes for the most delightful, refreshing beverage. Whether you need a lovely apéritif cocktail for a dinner party, special-occasion drink or just a casual sipper for a night on the patio, this is your perfect recipe.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Makes a great alternative to an Aperol spritz: The Aperol spritz gets all the attention – and it is a delicious brunch cocktail, which you surely know if you’ve tried my roasted strawberry Aperol spritz. But Aperol can be so much more than that. This recipe is perfect when you want a tasty Aperol-forward cocktail that’s a bit different from the usual.
Perfect for year-round celebrations: With those light and refreshing flavors, this Aperol sour is a great summer drink, but it’s also fancy enough to serve as a special-occasion signature cocktail – think Mother’s Day, weddings, bridal showers, bachelorette parties and the holiday season. Keep this recipe in your back pocket as a reliable stand-by.
What a swoon-worthy drink: Just look at that bright orange color! This is the type of cocktail that instantly gets those delighted gasps and makes for a memorable drinking experience. You will look like the ultimate mixologist when you serve this impressive drink.
Aperol: The star of the show, Aperol imparts a distinctive bittersweet flavor that makes for a sophisticated cocktail.
Lemon juice: Always go with fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Bottled juice cannot deliver the same bright citrus flavor as fresh lemon juice. You will not get the same quality of cocktail without it.
Simple syrup: While you can use store-bought simple syrup, I prefer to make my own. To make your own simple syrup, bring 1 cup water and 1 cup white sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring every so often to dissolve the sugar. Once it boils and the sugar dissolves, turn off the heat and let it cool. As long as you store it in a sterile, airtight container in the refrigerator, it should last for about a month.
Egg white: This is the secret ingredient to getting the velvety topping. As we shake, it whips up beautifully, and in no way does it taste eggy.
Bitters: With Aperol being an orange liqueur, I love using orange bitters here to play up the citrus notes. That said, you can substitute it with classic angostura bitters if you prefer.
Step 1: Let’s start mixing. We begin by adding our Aperol, gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, egg white and bitters to a cocktail shaker (photo 1).
Step 2: Before adding ice, we put on the cocktail shaker top and shake the mixture for 30 seconds (photo 2). This is called a dry shake. By using a dry shake method, the egg white can better incorporate with the other ingredients and build a stronger frothy topping.
Step 3: Now we take off the top and add a handful of ice cubes(photo 3). We put the top back on and shake again for at least a minute. You guessed it – this is our wet shake.
Step 4: From here, we strain the Aperol sour into a chilled glass (photo 4). For the perfect finishing touch, I love garnishing my sour cocktails with a lemon twist, though this is optional.
In just four easy steps, we have the prettiest Aperol cocktail in all the land. All that’s left is to savor every sip.
Aperol is a bittersweet Italian apéritif liqueur created by brothers Luigi and Silvio Barbieri in 1919 after spending many years perfecting the recipe. Specifically, Aperol falls into the Italian amaro family, which is a bitter herbal liqueur.
Traditionally, you enjoy an apéritif -- or aperitivo as they say in Italy --before dinner to help stimulate your appetite, but you don’t have to save it for that one occasion. At just 11 percent ABV, Aperol is a light sipper, which is why it’s so great for a pre-dinner drink as well as a happy hour or brunch cocktail.
Aperol shows off orange zest and rhubarb notes upfront with a strong earthy, herbal presence that lingers on the tongue. The exact recipe has been kept secret since its inception and has not strayed from its original version. How’s that for tradition?
Please note that Aperol does have a distinct taste, thanks to that bitter, woodsy flavor profile. While I love it, Aperol isn’t for everyone. People seem to find themselves in two camps: Team Aperol or Team Not for Me. If you’re just dipping your toes into Aperol recipes, this sour is a great place to start. With the fresh lemon juice and creamy texture, the Aperol flavor is a bit softer than what you’d get in a spritz.
While I highly recommend using a raw egg white for the creamiest, smoothest texture, it is optional if you’re uncomfortable using it or have dietary restrictions. However, if you’re new to egg white cocktails and simply nervous about the taste, it truly does not take on any eggy flavor, and I encourage you to try it.
For dietary restrictions, you can substitute an egg white for aquafaba, which is the liquid in a can of chickpeas. Fee Brothers also makes a frothing substance that can take the place of an egg white.
Naturally, a sour glass is perfect and designed for this type of cocktail. With that curved edge, this glass draws the frothy topping right onto your palate for a lovely drinking experience.
But don’t feel like you have to use a sour glass to enjoy this drink. A coupe glass or martini glass also work nicely. Some people even use a standard rocks glass.
My favorite method for chilling a glass is to simply place it in the freezer 30 minutes before mixing. It doesn’t get easier than that, and the glass comes out nice and frosty to keep our drink extra refreshing.
Of course, that takes a little planning. If you forget or decide to whip up this Aperol-gin sour cocktail on a whim, I have another option for you. Fill the serving glass with cold water and ice while you mix. When you’re ready to strain the drink, stir the water and ice for about 30 seconds, and then dump the contents. Just like that, you have a chilled cocktail glass.
Use an infused simple syrup to give it a flavor twist. My homemade ginger simple syrup, for instance, would add a lovely touch of spice to this Aperol sour recipe. You'd also love this lavender syrup for some floral notes.
Muddle some fresh herbs with simple syrup before adding the other ingredients. Mint or basil would add a nice liveliness and pop of fresh flavor, or you could use rosemary, thyme or sage for a more savory route.
Add your favorite citrus juice besides lemon. Grapefruit juice or orange juice could make great additions.
Not a fan of gin? No problem. Vodka makes a perfect substitute.
Opt for a mason jar: If you use a stainless steel cocktail shaker, it may have trouble sealing during the dry shake, which can get a little messy. That’s because it relies on ice to help seal the shaker. You might find it’s easier to dry shake in a mason jar with a solid lid or at least cover the seam with a kitchen towel while shaking. If you have a cocktail shaker with a rubber lining on the top, I find they seal better during the dry shake.
Use two hands for a proper shaking technique: We need a vigorous shake to properly froth up the egg white. Shaking with one hand won’t give you enough force.
Make sure your egg white is fresh or pasteurized: These days, including an egg white is common with minimal risk, but to be extra safe, use fresh egg whites that have been inspected and store them in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Pasteurized egg whites are also safe for cocktail mixing.
Prepare the base ahead of time for easy entertaining: While you can’t add the egg white until right before mixing, you can certainly prepare the Aperol-gin cocktail base up to 24 hours before serving. You’ll find the proportions in the recipe card.
Maximize lemon juice output: Before juicing the lemon, roll it firmly on the countertop under your hand. This gets those delightful juices flowing.
Smoked salmon is lovely with the citrusy, floral notes of both the Aperol and gin, and I have just the recipe for you – this smoked salmon-pesto pizza. You’ll love how the drink’s citrus brightens the salmon, and that herby pesto complements the more earthy notes. Plus, it’s a lighter pizza that can work as an appetizer, similar to a flatbread, so it falls right into that pre-dinner category. This smoked salmon dip from All Ways Delicious is also a tasty option.
For the most beautiful, refreshing cocktail that’s perfect for any occasion, I hope you try this Aperol sour. You will adore those lively, bright flavors with that luscious, silky texture for one fancy Italian aperitivo.
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- Cocktail shaker or mason jar with solid lid
- Jigger or small measuring cup
- Citrus juicer
- 2 ounces Aperol
- 1 ounce London dry gin
- 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice not bottled
- 1 ounce simple syrup
- 1 egg white
- Few dashes of orange bitters
- Lemon twist for garnish, optional
- In a cocktail shaker, add Aperol, gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, egg white and bitters.
- Put on the cocktail shaker top and shake for 30 seconds. This is the dry shake.
- Add a handful of ice. Shake again for at least one minute.
- Strain into a chilled glass. If desired, garnish with a lemon twist. Enjoy!
- If you use a stainless steel cocktail shaker, it may have trouble sealing during the dry shake. You might find it’s easier to dry shake in a mason jar with a solid lid or at least cover the seam with a kitchen towel while shaking.
- Use two hands for the proper shaking technique to get a vigorous shake to properly froth the egg white.
- Before juicing the lemon, roll it firmly on the countertop under your hand. This gets those delightful juices flowing.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.