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Top 5 Exquisite Substitutes to Aperol

Ever find yourself planning the perfect evening with friends, dreaming up those classy Aperol Spritz cocktails, only to realize you’re out of Aperol?

Trust me, you’re not alone. It’s moments like these where knowing a few solid Aperol substitutes can really save the day.

Whether it’s because of availability issues, taste preferences, or just plain curiosity, exploring alternatives to this beloved Italian aperitif can lead to some delightful discoveries.

This guide is here to walk you through the 5 best stand-ins for Aperol that promise to keep your cocktail game strong and your guests impressed. Let’s get mixing!

1 – Campari

Ah, Campari. It’s like Aperol’s bolder, slightly more bitter cousin who’s always up for a good time. Why does it make such a great substitute?

For starters, both hail from Italy and share a similar flavor profile—bittersweet, with a complexity that adds depth to any cocktail.

Campari is a bit more intense, both in flavor and color, making it perfect for those who love their drinks with a bit more kick. Plus, it’s pretty easy to find in most liquor stores.

When using Campari as a substitute for Aperol, the key is to remember that because it’s stronger, you might want to tweak the ratios a bit to suit your taste.

A good starting point is to use a bit less Campari than you would Aperol. Try a 3:4 ratio of Campari to Aperol – so if your cocktail calls for 1 ounce of Aperol, use about 0.75 ounces of Campari instead.

Give it a taste and adjust as needed. You can even play up the soda water or prosecco to balance out the bitterness if you like. Bottoms up to a bold twist on your favorite spritz!

2 – Cappelletti Aperitivo

Now, meet Cappelletti Aperitivo. This gem might not be as widely recognized as Campari or Aperol, but it’s definitely a contender in the realm of spritz-makers.

What sets Cappelletti apart? It’s a bit lighter and less bitter than Campari, yet has more herbaceous notes compared to Aperol, which makes it a fabulous middle-ground choice.

Picture it as the laid-back, eclectic friend in your drink repertoire, bringing something unique to the table without overwhelming it.

Using Cappelletti as a substitute for Aperol is pretty straightforward because of its balanced sweetness and bitterness.

It’s almost a 1:1 substitute, making your mixology experiments hassle-free. If your cocktail recipe calls for 1 ounce of Aperol, go ahead and use 1 ounce of Cappelletti.

This ratio keeps things easy and allows the special characteristics of Cappelletti to shine through without drastically altering the overall flavor profile of your drink.

It’s a fantastic way to add a twist to your Aperol Spritz or any cocktail that typically calls for a splash of the Italian aperitif.

3 – Select Aperitivo

Enter Select Aperitivo, the Venice-native that’s been turning heads since 1920. It’s got this deep, ruby red allure that just begs to be part of your cocktail. What makes Select Aperitivo stand out? It hits a sweet spot between Aperol and Campari, offering a top-notch balance of sweet and bitter with an aromatic punch of botanicals. For those who fancy a spritz with a bit more complexity without veering too far from the Aperol route, Select is your go-to.

Utilizing Select Aperitivo as an Aperol substitute is as easy as pie. Given its balanced nature, you can swap it out using a 1:1 ratio in most recipes. That means if you’re eyeing a cocktail that typically asks for an ounce of Aperol, just slide in an ounce of Select Aperitivo instead. The transition is silky smooth, keeping your drink’s character intact while introducing an enticing twist. Whether you’re shaking up a spritz or concocting something entirely new, Select Aperitivo holds its ground as a stellar stand-in with a Venetian flair.

4 – Lillet Blanc

Ah, Lillet Blanc, the French connection in our spritz substitute saga. This one’s a bit of a curveball because it’s not an aperitif in the same herbal and bitter category as Aperol, but rather, a wine-based aperitif that brings its own charm to the party.

What’s to love about Lillet Blanc? It’s floral, fruity, and has just the right hint of sweetness, which makes it an excellent choice for those wanting a lighter, more refreshing twist on their cocktail adventures without venturing into the bitterness territory.

When subbing Lillet Blanc for Aperol, think of it as softening the edges of your drink, adding a gentle, elegant flair. Because it’s sweeter and not as bold, you’ll want to adjust the ratio slightly to keep the drink’s body intact.

A great starting ratio is 1.5:1 – that is, if your recipe calls for 1 ounce of Aperol, you’d use about 1.5 ounces of Lillet Blanc.

This bump helps to maintain the cocktail’s structure while introducing a delightful, aromatic quality that’s hard to resist. It’s like swapping your usual upbeat playlist for something a bit more chill and jazzy.

Give it a whirl in your next spritz and watch it work its magic!

5 – Contratto Aperitif

Last but certainly not least, we’ve got Contratto Aperitif. This Italian delight has been around since 1867, dazzling drinkers with its unique blend of herbs and spices.

What’s so great about Contratto? Well, it strikes a wonderful balance between sweet and bitter, with a citrusy undertone that makes it a fantastic substitute for Aperol.

It’s the kind of substitute that whispers rather than shouts, enhancing your cocktails with a subtle complexity that’s absolutely refreshing.

When you’re ready to bring Contratto Aperitif into your home bar lineup, substituting it for Aperol is a breeze. The similarity in taste profiles means you can swap them at a 1:1 ratio.

If your favorite cocktail recipe calls for an ounce of Aperol, just use an ounce of Contratto Aperitif instead. This straightforward swap allows you to maintain the original spirit of your cocktail while introducing an elegant twist that might just become your new go-to.


Wrapping it up, sprucing up your cocktails with substitutes for Aperol is not just doable; it’s a whole adventure waiting to be explored.

Whether you’re after something with a bit more kick or a twist that leans towards the floral and fruity, there’s a substitute out there for you. Here’s a quick recap of our fantastic five:

  • Campari: Stronger and bolder. Use a bit less, maybe a 3:4 ratio compared to Aperol.
  • Cappelletti Aperitivo: A sweet middle ground with herbaceous vibes. Swap it 1:1.
  • Select Aperitivo: Perfectly balanced for a complex touch. Again, a clean 1:1 swap does the trick.
  • Lillet Blanc: Light, floral, and fruity. Go for a 1.5:1 ratio to keep things lively.
  • Contratto Aperitif: Sweet, bitter, and slightly citrusy. Stick to a 1:1 ratio for a seamless substitute.

Feel free to mix and match these substitutes in your next cocktail session and see which one hits the spot for you.