In Italy, it is common for people to enjoy an aperitivo (aka aperitif) before dinner; a refreshing, light cocktail. The Aperol Spritz is one of the more popular ones, and for good reason! It's flavorful, slightly bitter and sweet without being cloying. The flavor is similar to Campari, with hints of orange zest and clove. A bit intense on it's own, but perfectly refreshing when paired with sparkling wine and water. It's an excellent choice for a summer cocktail that's easy on the alcohol.
Gather your ingredients.
This cocktail offers some flexibility. Club soda is the typical add in, but there's no reason not to use sparking water if you already have some on hand. If fact, some people choose to omit the club soda altogether, which you can certainly do! Prosecco is the sparkling wine traditionally used in the Aperol spritz, as they are both from the Veneto region of Italy. However, Cava can be substituted if needed. Don't use champagne; you can find better Prosecco and Cava for mixed drinks at a lower price point, whereas Champagne is best enjoyed on its own (and you want to go for a higher quality on those). Orange is the standard garnish, but lime is very complimentary and refreshing as well if you happen to have it on hand. The Aperol Spritz can be served in a large glass, a champagne flute, or a stemmed wine glass.
Fill glass with ice, then add sparkling wine.
How much ice you will use obviously depends on the size of your drink vessel. Once the ice is in place, I personally like to eyeball the liquids as I add them, but feel free to use a shot glass, measuring cup or jigger to keep the ratios more accurate.
The Aperol is a gorgeous bright orange hue and will immediately transform the look of the drink.
Top off with sparkling water.
Finish with sparkling water or club soda, and give the drink a quick stir.
Garnish with a slice of orange or lime.
Serve immediately. If you're going to be serving this for a large group, you can easily scale up the recipe. Use the 3:2:1 ratio to come up with your drink portion, for example: 3 cups Prosecco + 2 cups Aperol + 1 cup sparking water. Add the three liquids to a large pitcher without the ice. Chill the pitcher, then serve over ice!