The Happiest Hour: Aperol Spritz

There is possibly no greater skill than that of mastering the Italian aperitivo.

Ok, that might be just a slight exaggeration but really there are few things more enjoyable. And nothing makes me think of Italy quite like the happy hour. Even at 12, on my first trip here, I took to aperitivo immediately because many places serve patatine or potato chips and anytime there are free potato chips, I’m there.

Once I got old enough to enjoy alcohol too, I immediately moved on to chilled glasses of Prosecco because, when it’s hot and humid in the midst of the summer, what could be better, right? Well, a handful of years ago, I found the answer: the Aperol Spritz. 

The Aperol Spritz is a cocktail you find served throughout the Northeast part of Italy, with variations from Padua to Venice. But, at it’s most simple it’s some sort of white wine — sometimes sparkling, other times not — mixed with an Italian bitter aperitivo such as Campari, Aperol, or even Cynar. Because Aperol is a little lighter on the bitterness than the other two alcohols and it has a hint of rhubarb and citrus flavor, it’s pretty perfect for a happy hour drink. But I’ll let you judge that for yourself — just be sure you still include your favorite potato chip or it just isn’t the same.

Aperol Spritz Cocktail from