The rich orange hue of Aperol has become a common sight in Melbourne beer gardens of late. In fact, Jarred Best, bartender at Riverland on the banks of the Yarra in the CBD, suggests its distinctive colour is one of the reasons for a surge in popularity. “I think people catch on to it because the orange colour is so identifiable as Aperol,” he says.

It’s an acquired taste for some, which might explain its slow but surely growing popularity. “Aperol starts off sweet then has a very bitter finish with hints of rhubarb on the nose,” says Best. Because of the drink’s strong flavour, derived from a combination of bitter orange, gentian (a blue flower), cinchona (a pink flower) and rhubarb, the bartender says any recipe using Aperol needs to be built around this distinctive identity.

“The focus is on understanding the ingredients in Aperol first, and then complementing these ingredients to amplify the flavours,” says Best.

Riverland serves the traditional Aperol Spritz - three parts prosecco, two parts Aperol, and one part soda water, served in a wine glass with ice and a fresh wedge or two of orange – as well as scales it up in jugs. “It’s a great drink for an afternoon with a group of friends,” says Best.

But they also do a twist using Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin. It’s made with whole oranges, which complements Aperol’s own orange base. Best then pairs it with housemade ginger and rosemary syrup and a garnish.

Here’s how to try these Aperol Spritz recipes at home.


Traditional Aperol Spritz
Serves one. Approximately 1.3 standard drinks.

Ingredients:
90ml prosecco
60ml Aperol
30ml soda water
2 fresh orange wedges to garnish

Method:
Combine prosecco and Aperol in jug. Garnish with orange, top with ice and soda water.


Aperol Spritz Jug
Serves four. Approximately 5.22 standard drinks per jug.

Ingredients:
360ml prosecco
240ml Aperol
120ml soda water
8 fresh orange wedges to garnish

Method:
Combine prosecco and Aperol in jug. Garnish with orange, top with ice and soda water. Serve in short glasses half full with ice and half an orange wheel.


Aperol Garden Spritz with a Twist
Serves one. Approximately 1.39 standard drinks.

Ingredients:
45ml Aperol
30ml Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin
15ml ginger and rosemary syrup
Lemon juice
Soda water to top
Optional sprig of rosemary to garnish

Ingredients for ginger and rosemary syrup:
5L water
2kg sugar
Handful of rosemary
Handful of chopped ginger

Method for ginger and rosemary syrup: Add all ingredients to pot and bring to boil. Once boiled, let it cool down to room temperature. Once cooled, store in a cool place.

Method:
Combine gin, Aperol and syrup in glass. Fill glass with ice and garnish with half an orange wheel and rosemary. Top with soda water.

This article is presented in partnership with Aperol. See here for a full list of Aperol activations in your area this summer.