Beyond Aperol: 10 Must-Try Substitutes that Rival the Classic

Undeniably, Aperol has ruled the roost when it comes to aperitifs for many years. Known for its distinctive bright orange hue and refreshingly bitter-sweet flavor, Aperol has become synonymous with relaxed, al fresco dining and is the backbone of the popular spritz cocktail.

However, as our taste buds are ever-evolving and the thirst for new experiences perennial, it’s time to venture into the wide, delicious world of aperitifs beyond Aperol.

This blog post’s purpose is not to dethrone Aperol, but to embark on a flavorful journey to explore alternatives that offer their unique twists. With countless other aperitifs out there, each with its unique flavor profiles and backgrounds, it’s like opening Pandora’s box of tantalizing taste experiences.

Exploring Aperol Alternatives

Why seek alternatives to Aperol? Simply because variety is the spice of life! By trying different aperitifs, you not only discover new flavors but also open your world to new experiences, traditions, and cocktail possibilities. Think of it as a thrilling adventure that can take your palate on a journey around the world without leaving your own home.

For the bold, adventurous spirits out there, experimenting with different aperitifs can be an exciting venture. The more we expose our taste buds to different flavor profiles, the more we refine our palates and deepen our appreciation for the world of drinks.

1. Lillet Blanc

First on our list of Aperol alternatives is Lillet Blanc, a French aperitif that hails from the Bordeaux region. Lillet Blanc is a blend of wines and fruit liqueurs, aged in oak for a year, which results in its nuanced flavor that’s both bright and rich.

With its subtle sweetness and floral, citrus notes, Lillet Blanc is a refreshing change from the more bitter profile of Aperol. Enjoy Lillet Blanc over ice with a slice of orange or, for a delightful cocktail, mix it with gin and lemon juice to create a classic Corpse Reviver No.2. The delicate flavors of Lillet Blanc make it a versatile aperitif to start your culinary journey.

2. Cappelletti

Next up, we have Cappelletti, also known as Aperitivo Americano. Hailing from Italy, Cappelletti offers a taste that is reminiscent of Aperol but with a more pronounced bitter profile. It has a distinctive flavor, with notes of orange peel, gentian root, and a blend of secret herbs.

Cappelletti is a versatile alternative that can be enjoyed neat, over ice, or as a key ingredient in various cocktails. Its bitter complexity makes it an excellent choice for classic drinks like the Negroni or the Americano. Whether you’re looking to create a bold and balanced cocktail or simply savor it on its own, Cappelletti is a noteworthy contender in the realm of aperitifs.

3. Campari

Campari is a renowned Italian aperitif that offers a distinct bitter flavor with a hint of sweetness. Its vibrant red color and complex herbal profile make it a popular choice for cocktails. Campari’s recipe is a closely guarded secret, combining a blend of herbs, fruits, and spices.

Campari’s versatility shines through in classic cocktails like the Negroni and the Campari Spritz. Its bitterness adds depth and complexity to mixed drinks, and it pairs well with soda water or citrus juices. Whether you prefer it in a refreshing spritz or a bold and bitter cocktail, Campari provides an exciting alternative to Aperol.

4. Select Aperitivo

Originating from Venice, Select Aperitivo is a unique alternative to Aperol. It offers a fuller and more complex flavor profile, combining bitter orange, rhubarb, and various aromatic herbs. Select Aperitivo is known for its distinct amber color and captivating aroma.

This Italian aperitif shines in cocktails like the Select Spritz or the Venetian Spritz. Its rich and bitter taste can be enjoyed on its own or mixed with other spirits to create balanced and flavorful drinks. If you’re looking to expand your aperitif repertoire, Select Aperitivo is worth a try.

5. Cocchi Americano

Cocchi Americano is an Italian aperitif that shares similarities with both Aperol and vermouth. Made from a blend of white wine, herbs, and spices, Cocchi Americano offers a delicate balance of bitter and sweet flavors. It has hints of citrus and botanicals, creating a complex and aromatic taste.

In cocktails, Cocchi Americano adds depth and character. It can be used as a substitute for Aperol in classic recipes like the Aperol Spritz or the Americano. With its unique flavor profile, Cocchi Americano brings a touch of elegance to your aperitif experience.

6. Salers Aperitif

Salers Aperitif is a French herbal liqueur that takes its name from the Salers region in Auvergne. It is crafted from the roots of the gentian plant, which lends it a distinctive earthy and herbaceous flavor. Salers Aperitif offers a refreshing and slightly bitter taste, making it a unique alternative to Aperol.

Enjoy Salers Aperitif neat, over ice, or as a key ingredient in cocktails. Its herbaceous character pairs well with citrus and complements other spirits like gin or vodka. Whether you choose to explore traditional French aperitif recipes or create your own concoctions, Salers Aperitif adds a touch of botanical allure to your aperitif journey.

7. Suze

Suze is a bright yellow-hued French aperitif known for its distinctive herbal and floral taste. Made from the roots of the gentian plant, it offers a unique balance of bitterness and sweetness. Suze has a pronounced earthy flavor with hints of citrus, making it a captivating alternative to Aperol.

When it comes to enjoying Suze, try serving it chilled over ice with a twist of lemon peel to enhance its refreshing qualities. It can also be mixed with sparkling water or used in creative cocktail recipes. Suze adds complexity and depth to aperitif drinks, making it a must-try for those seeking a different twist.

8. Gran Classico

Gran Classico is a Swiss aperitif that boasts a blend of bitter herbs and roots, resulting in a complex and aromatic flavor profile. With its deep red color, it adds a visually appealing element to cocktails. Gran Classico offers a balance of bitterness and sweetness with notes of orange peel, rhubarb, and wormwood.

This versatile alternative can be enjoyed on its own or used in various classic cocktails. Its bitter complexity shines in drinks like the Negroni or the Boulevardier. If you’re looking to explore aperitifs with a bold and intriguing taste, Gran Classico is a compelling choice.

9. Byrrh

Byrrh is a classic French aperitif that combines fortified wine with botanicals, resulting in a rich and aromatic flavor. Its deep ruby color and velvety texture make it visually appealing. Byrrh offers a harmonious balance of sweetness and bitterness, with prominent notes of wine, herbs, and spices.

Savor Byrrh on its own, over ice, or use it as a key ingredient in a range of cocktails. Its versatility allows it to shine in classic drinks like the Byrrh Cassis or the Byrrh Frappé. Byrrh’s complex flavor profile and historical significance make it a worthy contender in the world of aperitifs.

10. Ramazzotti

With a legacy dating back to 1815, Ramazzotti is an Italian amaro that can be used as a substitute for Aperol in aperitif drinks. It offers a bittersweet flavor with prominent notes of orange peel, herbs, and spices. Ramazzotti’s rich and complex taste profile adds depth to cocktails and provides a unique drinking experience.

Whether you choose to enjoy Ramazzotti neat, on the rocks, or mixed into cocktails, it brings a touch of Italian sophistication to any occasion. Its versatility allows for experimentation, making it a delightful addition to your aperitif repertoire.

Aperitif Selection Tips

Choosing the right aperitif involves considering various factors such as your personal taste preferences, the flavor profiles of the aperitifs, and their suitability for different occasions. For example, if you prefer sweeter drinks, a fruit-based aperitif might suit you better, while fans of bitter flavors might enjoy herbal aperitifs.

Above all, the most important advice is to be adventurous and open-minded. Experiment with different aperitifs and don’t be afraid to try something new – you might just discover a new favorite!

Pairing Aperitifs with Appetizers

Pairing aperitifs with appetizers is an art that enhances the pre-dinner experience. The goal is to find complementary flavors that prepare the palate for the main course without overpowering it. For instance, a lightly bitter aperitif can be beautifully paired with savory appetizers to balance the taste.

Take inspiration from successful pairings like Lillet Blanc with smoked salmon or Suze with a goat cheese tartlet. The combinations are endless and exciting, providing an opportunity to unleash your culinary creativity.

As you venture into the realm of delightful cocktails and delectable desserts, you’ll discover a captivating array of alternatives that can effortlessly replace Frangelico, each adding its own unique flair.

Aperitif Etiquette and Serving Suggestions

The experience of enjoying an aperitif extends beyond the drink itself. It’s about creating an ambiance and serving the aperitif in a way that heightens the sensory experience. Serve your aperitif in the appropriate glassware, chilled, and garnished if needed.

From elegant coupes to traditional vermouth glasses, the choice of glassware can enhance the visual and taste experience. Also, think about creating an inviting atmosphere for your guests. Perhaps light some candles, play some soft music, and serve a selection of appetizers to go with the aperitifs. It’s about setting the scene for an enjoyable culinary journey.

When exploring alternatives to the classic Aperol, one must not overlook the intriguing contrast between Amaro and Amaretto.


This exploration into the world of aperitifs has been a journey brimming with diverse flavors, traditions, and experiences. It’s evident that while Aperol holds its charm, there’s a vast and exciting universe of aperitifs out there just waiting to be discovered.

Let this guide inspire you to expand your palate and embrace the delightful variety that the world of aperitifs offers. Remember, the best aperitif for you is the one you enjoy the most. So, go forth and explore, taste, and savor!