There are many, many days left to savour of summer, and how better than with cocktails? Aperol, the iconic citrus-forward aperitif with herbal and woody notes, is the base for these three. It is bitter-sweet, and depending how you mix it, it can be light and refreshing or boozy and sophisticated. To explore its complex flavour profile with heritage dating back to 1919, I decided to play with local flavors and add some Cancon to my cocktails. Iconic old world aperitif meets Canadian craft distilling.
APEROL CIDER SPRITZ
For this twist on a traditional Aperol spritz, swap out the sparkling wine with a local cider or perry (made from pears). I used Revel Cider’s Sumac, but go check out their amazing offerings. If you want to lengthen the drink, both to lower its alcohol content and to make it more hydrating, top with a sparkling water like Sap Sucker Maple Tree Water, made from maple sap. It has just a hint of sweetness to balance the tang of the Aperol and the fruit of the cider. This is a super-refreshing, easy breezy cocktail.
- 1 oz Aperol
- 3-4 oz Revel Sumac Cider
- 2 oz Sap Sucker (optional)
- Spice Trader Sumac
Run a lime around the top of a large wine glass, and rim it with sumac. Fill the glass with ice. Add Aperol, then top with cider and sparkling water.
This cocktail pumps up the floral notes. I love Spirit of York’s gin and vodka. (Bonus! The bottles are drop dead gorgeous and reusable. I keep them and use them for batched cocktails.) Not everyone loves gin, so use vodka if that’s you. I like to use egg white in sours, but if you’re making this dockside or in your back yard, you may not want to fuss with the egg. It’s not essential, and this is all about easy drinking. The Aperol makes this a lovely pale pink, perfect for sunset sipping.
- 1 oz Aperol
- 1 oz Spirit of York Gin or Vodka
- 1 oz Dillon’s Maison Selby Elderflower Liqueur or St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
- juice of half a lime
- 1 egg white (optional)
- Dash of Kinsip Hibiscus Rosehip bitters
- sugar (I used lavender sugar to pump up the floral notes, but plain sugar is fine)
Run a lime around the rim of the coupe and rim with sugar. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. If you’re using egg white, dry shake the ingredients for 30-60 seconds to get the egg nice and frothy. Then add ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into the rimmed coupe.
Negroni is the classic Aperol cocktail. It is bold and boozy and layers flavour over flavour. I love to use a barrel-aged gin in my Negronis, and my favourite Canadian version is Willibald’s. Its smoky aroma, from being aged in oak barrels, pairs well with the woodiness of the Aperol. With equal parts Aperol, gin and vermouth, this is the perfect balance of bitter, smoky and sweet.
- 1 oz Aperol
- 1 oz Willibald Original Aged Gin
- 1 oz sweet vermouth
- Dash of Dillons Aromatic DSB bitters
- Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into a rocks glass over a king cube or on the rocks.
Sip and savour!
Aperol, Spirit of York, Dillons, Kinsip and Willibald are all available at the LCBO.
Editor’s Note: Recipes have been created by Nathalie Foy. All rights reserved.
*Lead in photo credit Libby Roach. All other photos by Nathalie Foy.