What happens when you cross a Tom Collins and Aperol? Easy: The Aperol Collins, the best of both worlds. A low-alcohol, refreshing cocktail built on a universally loved classic.
Last week someone asked me which bottle in my bar did I reach for the most. Gin and bourbon are certainly numbers 1 and 1a. The bronze medal is more highly contested, though. If I really think about it, Aperol is probably next up. It might seem like a surprising choice but, unlike its equally delicious cousin Campari, it lends itself more to experimentation.
Campari is great, and I love it (maybe too much), but the bold flavour can be a little bit too much for some drinks (and some people). Aperol, on the other hand, has a sweetness and a citrus note that makes it quite versatile. Even if you aren’t a bitter aficionado, you’ll find it very appealing.
I think every spirit enthusiast should have a stable of drinks they can call on when they’re put on the spot. How many times have you had a few friends over and offered them a drink only to have them throw it back to you with, “What do you recommend barkeep?” You don’t want to throw them into the deep end with a Negroni or Boulevardier but want to instead ease them into a life of intermittent inebriation. This is that type of drink: easy-drinking enough that it pleases most but also interesting enough to keep you going down the rabbit hole.
1 ½ oz gin
1 ½ oz Aperol
½ oz lime juice
1 oz POM Juice
Lemon or orange wheel
In a cocktail shaker with ice, add all the ingredients except the club soda and shake lightly. Strain into an ice-filled Collins glass and top with club soda. Garnish with lemon or orange wheel.
I think this drink has enough bitter depth to be enjoyed by the fully initiated but also has enough sweetness and balance to appeal to even the most casual drinker. The next time you find someone asking you for a recommendation have them try them this one and don’t be surprised when it’s well received.
Might even get higher than a bronze.