Mezcal will play nice as long as you have some strong players to mix it with, like bittersweet Aperol, the herbal orangey liqueur that some call Campari's little sister.
'Aperol' on Serious Eats
This mezcal drink, made with bittersweet Aperol and fresh lemon, can go two ways: with Angostura bitters, it's spicy-earthy-cinnamony. Or try chocolate bitters, which play up the sweet and bitter orange flavors in the Aperol.
This bitter and refreshing amaro-laced tequila cocktail from Aaron Joseph of Wit and Wisdom in Baltimore, MD gives a nod toward the Negroni
A simple mix of muddled cucumber, gin, and Aperol makes for a cooling and refreshing cocktail.
If you are interested in building a taste for the bitter drinks that are showing up in bars these days, my advice is to start slowly. Here are my recommendations, step by step.
Audrey Saunders of Pegu Club in New York created this fruity and bittersweet drink to introduce customers to the flavor of Aperol. The cocktail is citrusy and mildly herbal, with a subtle undercurrent of bitterness.
This twist on the classic Old Pal cocktail uses lighter-flavored Aperol instead of Campari, and brings in bitter Cocchi Americano in the place of dry vermouth. It's an easy-drinking combination.
Slightly tannic cranberry syrup pairs perfectly with the mildly bitter, fruity Aperol in this festive (and fizzy) beverage.
If Campari is the uncompromising, complex, and bitterly bracing quaff, and Aperol the sweet and heady nectar, then Luxardo's new Aperitivo strikes an interesting balance in between.
In this chic twist on the classic brunch drink, Aperol adds a beautiful blush color and a hint of bitterness to the mix.
Rhubarb is a noted ingredient in the Italian aperitif Aperol. Pairing Aperol with the rhubarb shrub really highlights this flavor note and lets the more savory side of rhubarb shine.
Is it spring yet? If you're getting primed for warmer weather, we recommend a little Aperol: it's fruity and fresh like a summer drink, but bracing and bitter like the citrus of winter. If you are looking for ways to use up the last of February's citrus, pairing it with this Italian aperitif is just the ticket. (It's also delicious mixed with a wide range of spirits and liqueurs, or just used to flavor a glass of Prosecco.) Here are 10 delicious cocktail recipes to get you started.
A muted, orangey pink, the Rhubarb Blush from Pok Pok Ny is like a lovely liquid SweeTart. Here's the recipe so you can make it at home.
Pok Pok Ny's Rhubarb Blush is sweet, tart, and tangy—the perfect foil for a meal of spicy Thai food.
The Aperol Spritz is popular for a few reasons. The combination of bittersweet Aperol and prosecco, lightened with soda water, is just the thing to quench the thirst and whet the appetite. Here's an updated recipe, frothed up with seltzer and egg white.
This recipe from Jason "Buffalo" LoGrasso of Cotogna in San Francisco is a frothier, creamier version of the classic Aperol Spritz.
The house drink at San Francisco's West of Pecos restaurant features freshly muddled cantaloupe—Pecos, Texas is known for the fruit.
This spin on a Pimm's cup uses a good dose of Aperol, and is named for an old Aperol advertisement that claimed that Aperol was good for maintaining your slim figure.
This refreshingly bitter aperitif cocktail from The Modern in NYC is a variation on the Americano. It calls for saffron-tinted Strega, an herbal liqueur produced in Benevento, Italy (for which this cocktail is named.)
A play on the classic Negroni, this cocktail created by Patrick Reynard at Pourhouse in Vancouver, BC, is lighter in body and has subtle melon and citrus aromas.