The Non-Alcoholic Aperol Spritz is such a refreshing and tasty mocktail -- and it's as close as it gets to the real thing! With just three ingredients, this low-calorie alcohol free drink is the perfect refreshing choice for sipping poolside on a hot afternoon.
Mocktails are becoming more and more popular as time goes by and new products come to the market. I love that we can get so close to the flavor of the original Aperol Spritz with these new options!
If you're looking for the alcoholic version, this Amaro Spritz recipe goes over the basic 3-2-1 blueprint of a spritz cocktail. Try out the Negroni Spritz, the Passion Fruit Spritz or the Italicus Spritz for some more delicious options!
Taste Testing Non-Alcoholic Aperitifs
The classic Aperol Spritz is a simple recipe, but because it has such few ingredients, it's hard to copy with regular alcohol free ingredients like juice.
With the rise of mocktails, though, companies are making more and more complex aperitif substitutes! These are like alcohol-free amari, or bittersweet liqueurs (for more info on the alcoholic versions, see my guide to Amaro liqueur).
I wanted to give a bunch of them a taste test before deciding which was the best one to recommend for this non-alcoholic spritz recipe.
As you can tell, there is a huge variation in the color and flavor in all of these alternatives.
Here are my tasting notes for all of these products:
- The Lyre's Italian Spritz was the brightest and most orange in color. This one looks a whole lot like Aperol (see photo below). It was the sweetest of the four and had some citrus notes with a light bitterness.
- The Ghia Non-Alcoholic Aperitif was the least bitter of the four, with lots of berry flavor. This one was the best to drink on its own.
- The Wilderton Bittersweet Aperitivo was the most bitter of the four. It was not really citrusy, but had a woodsy and herbal flavor. This one is good for people who like a lot of strong bitter flavor.
- The Ritual Aperitif Alternative was the only one of the four that had a little bit of spiciness to mimic the burn of alcohol. It was kind of thin in texture, but still sweet. There was a little bit of aftertaste since this one uses stevia as a sweetener.
Since the Lyre's was hands down the closest in flavor, texture and color to true Aperol liqueur, it was my pick to be the star of this cocktail. Aperol is definitely thicker, more bitter and more sweet than the Lyre's, but they have very similar flavors overall.
Taste Testing Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Wines
Now that I'd picked the liqueur part, the next ingredient to try was a non-alcoholic sparkling wine. I just tried two of these, and the two brands had a ton of variation, just like the aperitivi.
Here are my tasting notes for these two:
- The Lyre's Classico is very light and has a lot of bright acidity. It has some notes of green apple with a slight vinegar flavor.
- The Chateau de Fleur Non-Alcoholic Champagne was definitely sweeter than the Lyre's, with a little bit of oakiness and some grape juice flavor.
This one was a closer call than the aperitifs, but in the end, the Lyre's Classico won out. Paired with the Lyre's Italian Spritz, the acidity of the Classico cut the sweetness and made for the perfect refreshing mocktail.
Here are the ingredients you'll need to make this tasty mocktail:
- Lyre's Italian Spritz - this Aperol alternative tastes really similar to the real thing, matching the color almost exactly. It doesn't quite have as much flavor as Aperol, but it is the best alternative and pretty easy to find.
- Lyre's Classico - this alcohol free sparkling wine subs in for the Prosecco of the original cocktail. It is on the dry side, but pairs perfectly with the Italian Spritz.
- Seltzer - just a little bit of seltzer makes this drink even more refreshing.
- Orange slice - the orange slice is an optional garnish, but definitely recommended!
Here are some ways you can substitute the ingredients in this cocktail:
- Aperitif - you can use one of the other aperitif alternatives from my taste test, or you can try Lyre's Italian Orange, which is more like Campari.
- Sparkling wine - check out this list of the best reviewed non-alcoholic champagne on Amazon if you can't find one in person. Or, if you're not a fan of bubbles, you can try a non-alcoholic wine like this Giesen Dealcoholized Sauvignon Blanc.
- Seltzer - you can use a flavored seltzer instead, or just add more of the sparkling wine. Or, try adding tonic water instead, which will bring its own sweet and bitter flavors.
Here are some variations on this recipe:
- Low-alcohol - you can switch out either the Italian Spritz or the Classico for the real thing, if you want just a little bit of alcohol.
- Citrus juice - if you want a little more body and some natural sweetness, try adding in just a little freshly squeezed orange juice or pink grapefruit juice (about ½ ounce).
- Berry flavor - try muddling a few raspberries in the serving glass before adding the ice. This will bring a nice sweet and tart flavor to the drink. This would be a great option if you are using the Ghia Non-Alcoholic aperitif.
You barely need any equipment for this one! The main things you'll need are a jigger and a cocktail serving glass (a large wine glass works great). I also used a long bar spoon to gently stir everything together.
For the glass, I used the Viski Spritz glass, which is super elegant and pretty!
I used my A Bar Above jigger and bar spoon for this one. You can grab 10% off for any of their products using my discount code, LKDrinks! Their bar tools are really durable, and also can be thrown in the dishwasher when you're done!
Start out by preparing your garnish. I cut a slice of orange, then cut it in half so it would be easy to attach to the rim of the glass.
Set the garnish aside while you make the drink.
Fill your serving glass with ice, and then add in the Italian Spritz.
Add the Classico followed by the soda water.
Give everything a gently stir (not too much, because we want to keep the carbonation).
Then, add the orange garnish, and serve. Cheers!
Hint: If you can, definitely chill all of your ingredients, plus the serving glass, for about 30 minutes before making the drink.
This is a tasty mocktail as it is, but if you want to pump up the bitterness, try using some non-alcoholic bitters. These Fee Brothers Rhubarb bitters would be a great choice! They have a ton of rhubarb notes to give it even more flavor.
Non-Alcoholic Aperol Spritz
- Fill your serving glass with ice.
- Measure and add the Lyre's Italian Spritz or your choice of non-alcoholic aperitif.
- Add in the Lyre's Classico, or your favorite non-alcoholic sparkling wine.
- Add in the seltzer.
- Give everything a gentle stir, and then add the orange slice garnish.
- Serve and enjoy!