The Aperol Spritz is one of the all-time classic cocktails (and it’s making a comeback). The centerpiece, of course, is the Italian Aperol, a bittersweet orange liqueur which comprises nearly half the drink.
Aperol just got some competition. A new product from Luxardo (renown for its cherry-flavored maraschino liqueur) is a new spin on the liqueur, right down to the deep orange color and Made in Italy label.
I tried Luxardo Aperitivo both on its own and in a Spritz, comparing both to the standby, Aperol. The differences are notable. For starters, Aperol is very sweet and very fruity, and in a cocktail it comes off as fresh and fun. It’s not terribly complex, though, more of an upscale and very slightly bitter triple sec.
Luxardo’s got something more going on. Not as sweet, distinctly bitter-edged, with hints of grapefruit peel, root beer, and light herbs including rosemary and sage. It’s somewhere between Aperol and Campari on the spectrum (though closer to Aperol), and I find I really like where it lands. Opinions were mixed on which version was better in a Spritz — in a sample of four tasters, the men in my group (including me) slightly preferred the Luxardo version, the ladies liked the Aperol one. But we all enjoyed both renditions of the cocktail. Give it a try, and weigh in with your opinion!
A- / $20 / anchordistilling.com