Intro to Aperol | Santa Fe Sips

Once you’ve graduated from being a novice drinker, where most of the drinks you’ve become used to are too strong and/or too sweet, it’s time to start exploring the big, beautiful world of Amari (Italian bitters).

Amari (plural of amaro) are Italian herbal liqueurs that are often drunk as aperitifs (before-dinner drinks) or digestifs (after-dinner drinks.) They have a strong herbal taste while balancing a combination of bitterness and sweetness. Some famous Amari are Campari, Aperol, Averna, Cynar, Nonino, and Montenegro.

It takes being a little adventurous to get into this world, as the first sip of any amaro-forward drink can be a bit intimidating.

Enter Audrey Saunders, arguably one of the most famous and influential bartenders in New York. She has an impressive number of Modern Classic cocktails to her name and has created exciting cocktail programs in New York City at places such as the Blackbird, Bemelman's Bar and The Pegu Club.

Audrey created the “Intro to Aperol” at the Pegu Club in 2006 to introduce timid customers to the flavor of Aperol. The cocktail is citrusy and mildly herbal, with a subtle undercurrent of bitterness and strikes a good balance between sweet and bitter. Aperol is sweeter and lighter tasting than Campari and has a strong flavor of orange with an underlying herbal bitterness. It works very well in this drink, where the fruitiness and hints of spice and juniper make it very refreshing and an easy introduction to Amari.

You can find this cocktail served in bars across the country because it lives up to its name perfectly. I can attest to the fact that this is a beautiful and tasty drink - ideal for spring and summer.

Intro to Aperol


  • 2 oz Aperol

  • 1 oz London Dry Gin

  • 0.75 oz lemon juice

  • 0.25 oz simple syrup

  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters

  • Garnish: 1 twist orange peel


  • Chill a coupe glass

  • Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker

  • Add ice and shake vigorously for 10 seconds.

  • Strain into the coupe glass

  • Garnish with the orange twist


About Matt Mathai

My Santa Fe street cred: almost zero, but I do love it here. My wife and I retired to Santa Fein 2019 after buying our house here in 2012. We lived in Annapolis, MD for many years and had long careers. Mine was in technology - airline communications, healthcare, and online training delivery.


I love to eat good food, although I can do without some of the fu