This divinely frothy and delicious Aperol Sour cocktail recipe will transport you straight to Italy! A perfectly classy cocktail that's full of flavor and easy to make, this drink is perfect for enjoying as a pre-dinner aperitif on a warm summer day.
The Aperol Sour follows the basic formula of a classic sour cocktail, but the Aperol sets it apart. Sweet, bright and citrusy, it's a favorite among bartenders and cocktail lovers alike!
Some of my favorite cocktails are sours, like this Amaretto Stone Sour and the vibrant Midori Sour. Looking for more Aperol drinks? Use it in this Amaro Spritz recipe to make an Aperol Spritz! Or, this color changing Gin Aperol Cocktail is always a hit.
- Aperol - This is considered an amaro liqueur, which means that it is an Italian bittersweet liqueur. Aperol has a fairly low alcohol content and high sugar, so we don't have to add as much sugar syrup to this drink.
- Gin - any London dry style gin will work perfectly. I've used The Botanist gin here.
- Lemon juice - I recommend freshly squeezed lemon juice for the best flavor.
- Simple syrup - this brings some sweetness and body to the drink. You can use store bought syrup, or make your own simple syrup.
- Egg whites - although this recipe is normally made with raw egg whites, I prefer using pasteurized egg whites. They work just as well for me! The egg whites add a silky texture to the drink, and makes the whole drink taste more balanced.
- Lemon peel - you can use a fresh lemon peel to make the lemon twist garnish.
Here are some ways you can substitute the ingredients in this cocktail:
- Aperol - if you don't have Aperol, try Campari instead. Just keep in mind that Campari has double the alcohol of Aperol, so you can use a little less gin.
- Egg whites - you can replace egg whites with aquafaba (chickpea juice) for a vegan option. Or, try Fee Brothers fee foam, a non-egg white alternative to create a foamy cocktail.
- Syrup - instead of simple syrup, you can use maple syrup or agave nectar.
Here are some variations on this recipe:
- Keto-Friendly Aperol Sour - it's easy to make this into a keto-friendly drink. Just switch out the simple syrup for syrup made with a sugar-free sweetener. My favorite is allulose! You can use store-bought sugar-free syrup, or you can find more info on how to make your own in my How to Make Simple Syrup post.
- Virgin - if you're avoiding alcohol, you can use an alcohol substitute in place of the hard stuff. Lyre's Italian Orange and Lyre's Dry London Spirit are perfect non-alcoholic replacements. All the flavor, none of the alcohol.
- Extra flavor - try adding orange bitters or Angostura bitters for some extra oomph.
To prepare your Aperol Sour, you'll need a few bar essentials and some extras.
A paring knife and cutting board will come in handy to prepare your lemon peel garnish. To mix the cocktail, you'll want a jigger, a cocktail shaker, a regular strainer and a fine mesh strainer. Optionally, you may want a milk frother.
This drink is typically served in a stemmed coupe glass. I've used the Reidel drink-specific Sour glass, which has a flared out rim for optimal foam!
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Prep the lemon peel garnish and make a slit in the middle to attach it to the glass. Set aside.
Then, add the lemon juice and simple syrup to your cocktail shaker.
Next, add the gin and Aperol to the cocktail shaker.
Add ice to your shaker, and shake well, about 15-20 times. Then strain out the ice, but don't pour the drink into your glass just yet. Keep it in your cocktail shaker (if you don't have a 2-sided shaker, use a different glass to collect the liquid.)
Next we will create the foam. Add the egg whites into the mixture.
Seal the shaker without ice, and do a dry shake for at least a minute. This creates the best and longest lasting foam. If you prefer, you can use a milk foamer to froth up the mixture instead.
Using a fine mesh strainer, strain into a chilled coupe glass.
You can optionally squeeze a separate piece large lemon peel over top of the foam for extra aroma, or add a few drops of lemon or orange bitters to the top.
Add the lemon twist garnish to the rim of the glass, and serve.
Hint: Use leftover lemon peels to express some lemon oils over the top of the cocktail before serving. Just squeeze a lemon peel while holding it over the drink, with the dark yellow side facing the drink. It's a simple touch, but gives the drink a wonderful aroma!
Frequently Asked Questions
Aperol has a smooth bittersweet orange and spice flavor, with notes of grapefruit and rhubarb. It's less bitter than Campari, with an added sweetness that makes it popular in many cocktails.
Aperol is only 11% alcohol, which is around the average percentage for wines. It can be enjoyed on its own (preferably chilled). It has a bitter citrus flavor and lots of sweetness as well.
It isn't necessary but because of its lower alcohol content, the Aperol will last longer if stored in the refrigerator. This will also keep your cocktail chilled longer as well. If you cannot store it in the fridge, keep stored in a cool dark place.
If you are planning to make a batch of these for a party, you can pre-make your garnishes. Store the garnishes in the fridge in a ziploc bag along with a damp paper towel to keep them fresh. You can also pre-mix the Aperol, gin, simple syrup, and lemon juice about an hour before your party, but I don't recommend adding the egg whites until just before serving.
- Vegetable peeler (for the lemon peel garnish)
- Knife and cutting board (for the lemon peel garnish, and if you are using the fresh juice)
- Citrus juicer (if you are using fresh lemon juice)
- Lemon peel
- Use a paring knife to clean up the sides of your piece of lemon peel, and then make a slit in the middle of the peel to attach it to the glass. Set aside.
- Add the Aperol, gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker.
- Fill the shaker with ice and shake well about 15-20 times.
- Strain out the ice, collecting the liquid in the other side of your cocktail shaker (or in a separate glass, and then add it back to the shaker).
- Add in the egg whites.
- Seal the shaker without ice and do a dry shake for at least a minute. Or, you can use a milk foamer to froth up the mixture for a quick shortcut (but the bubbles won't be as smooth).
- Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into your chilled coupe glass.
- You can optionally squeeze a separate large lemon peel or add some drops of bitters to the top of the foam for extra aroma.
- Add the garnish to the rim of the glass, and serve.