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Campari vs. Aperol – Which Italian Liqueur Reigns Supreme?

Campari vs. Aperol – It’s the ultimate battle in the cocktail world. Are you finding it hard to decide between Campari and Aperol for your next cocktail?

This decision can be more complex than you think because these two liqueurs are orange-hued but offer distinct flavors.

This article will delve deep into understanding the differences that make each unique. 

Stay with us; here’s everything you need to know about these delightful drinks!

The Differences Between Campari and Aperol

Diving into the world of mixed cocktails, these two Italian aperitifs stand out: Campari and Aperol.

These vibrant drinks, often bathed in a radiant color reminiscent of a sunset, have made their mark on cocktail menus worldwide.

Campari and Aperol are both popular liqueurs known for their vibrant colors and unique flavors. But there are some distinct differences between these two.

Campari is characterized by its bright red color and intense bitterness, while Aperol boasts a bright orange color, offering a sweeter, lighter, refreshing, and more balanced taste.

Description and Key Differences

Both embody unique flavor profiles that will surely intrigue your senses.

With its deep red vivaciousness, Campari offers an intense bitterness savored by many enthusiasts.

It swirls with citrus flavors to bitter herbs and spices —perfect for those who appreciate robust cocktails.

On the more orange-hued side is Aperol, known for its balanced blend of sweet and savory notes—a more precious counterpart appealing to individuals drawn towards milder experiences.

Differences in Color

They have distinct color differences that set them apart.

Campari is known for its deep ruby color, while Aperol boasts a vibrant, lighter orange color. Campari’s rich, intense red adds sophistication to cocktails, making it visually striking.

On the other hand, Aperol’s bright and vibrant orange is eye-catching and inviting.

However, both colors evoke a sense of excitement and anticipation when added to drinks, setting the stage for a delightful experience with each sip.

Differences in Flavor

These two have distinct flavor profiles that set them apart from each other.

Campari is known for its intense and bittersweet flavor, with hints of orange peel and deep red color. It has a robust flavor that can be an acquired taste for some.

On the other hand, Aperol offers a sweeter and more balanced flavor with refreshing citrus and herbal notes. Its orange-hued appearance adds to its vibrant appeal.

Both liqueurs have unique characteristics that pair well with cocktails and are popular among mixologists.

Differences in alcohol content by ABV (alcohol by volume)

They may look similar, but there is a crucial difference in their alcohol content.

While Campari has a higher ABV than Aperol, typically around 24%, Aperol has a lower ABV of only about 11%.

This means Campari packs more alcoholic punch than its citrusy counterpart, Aperol, with low alcohol content.

Whether you prefer Campari’s stronger intensity or Aperol’s lighter touch, both drinks offer distinct flavors that can elevate your cocktails to new heights.

Popular Campari Cocktails

Campari was created by Gaspare Campari in 1860. The oldest Campari cocktail is Bitter Campari, created in 1860 by Gaspare Campari. 

He established a pub in the year 1867 called the Caffe Campari in Milan, and it swiftly transformed into a central point for the artistic and cultural scene of the city.

His exclusive mixed drink gained significant traction among stylish individuals. Its deep red hue and intense bitterness are staples in many classic cocktails


One popular Campari drink is the Negroni, which combines one part Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth.

Combining these ingredients creates a bold and well-balanced drink that is perfect for those who enjoy a hint of bitterness.


Another beloved Campari group of cocktails is the Boulevardier, which substitutes bourbon for gin in the Negronis recipe.

This gives the drink a richer flavor profile with notes of caramel and oak from the bourbon.

These cocktails showcase Campari’s unique taste and beautiful bright color to any mixed drink.


This cocktail resembles a Negroni, but the ingredients include gin with sparkling wine, such as Prosecco.

The word “sbagliato” in Italian means “mistaken” or “wrong,” suggesting that the recipe was created by accident when the bartender mistakenly used sparkling wine instead of gin in a Negroni.

The result is a lighter and more refreshing drink with a bittersweet flavor profile

Campari Spritz

Campari spritz is a classic Italian aperitif cocktail made with Campari, a bitter liqueur. It is typically served as a refreshing drink before a meal to stimulate the appetite.

The cocktail combines Campari with Prosecco, a sparkling wine, and a splash of soda water. It is usually garnished with an orange slice or wedge. 

Popular Aperol Cocktails

The original recipe for Aperol was created by the Barbieri brothers, Luigi and Silvio Barbieri, in Italy in 1919. However, it was later acquired and popularized by the Campari Group. 

With a vibrant orange peel flavor profile, Aperol is a popular choice for many refreshing cocktails. 

Whether enjoyed poolside or at your favorite rooftop bar, these popular Aperol cocktails will surely be crowd-pleasers all year round.

Classic Aperol Spritz

Aperol Spritz, a light and refreshing, vibrant cocktail, is made with equal parts Aperol and Prosecco, topped off with a splash of soda water.

This effervescent delight in a light, citrusy beverage is perfect for summer sipping.

Aperol Negroni

Another popular option is the Aperol Negroni, which is made with Aperol being swapped for Campari in the classic Negroni recipe.

The result is a slightly sweeter twist on a beloved cocktail that still retains those bitter Italian notes we love.

Aperol Smash

The Aperol Smash adds muddled fresh fruits like berries, orange slices, or citrus peels to create a fruity and refreshing libation for those looking to explore more creative and bittersweet citrus flavors.

Aperol Mai Tai

If you’re in the mood for something tropical, try an Aperol Mai Tai by substituting traditional rum with an equal measure of Aperol – it provides a unique twist to this perennial favorite.

Final Thoughts

Campari and Aperol offer unique flavors and vibrant colors that elevate any cocktail.

While Campari boasts a deep reddish color and intense bitternessAperol shines with its orange hue and balanced citrus-herb flavor.

Whether you prefer a bold and bitter drink or a sweeter, more refreshing option, both liqueurs have something to offer.

So why not try them both and discover which suits your taste buds best? Cheers!

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1. What is the difference between Campari vs Aperol?

They are both Italian bitter liqueurs, but they have distinct flavor profiles.

Campari has a more intense bitterness with a blend of natural ingredients such as herbs, spices, and citrus, while Aperol has a milder bitterness with a sweeter orange flavor.

2. How do you use Aperol compared to Campari in cocktails?

Use Campari in classic cocktails like the Negroni or Americano, where its bold flavors can shine through.

On the other hand, Aperol is commonly used in lighter spritz-style drinks like the Aperol Spritz or mixed with prosecco for a refreshing aperitif.

3. Can you substitute Aperol and Campari cocktails for each other in recipes?

While both liqueurs belong to the same category and share some similarities, their flavor profiles are different enough that substituting one for the other may significantly alter the taste of your drink.

However, if you prefer a less bitter taste, you can use less Campari instead of swapping it entirely for Aperol.

4. Are there any non-alcoholic alternatives to Campari or Aperol?

If you’re looking for non-alcoholic substitutes for Campari or Aperol, several options on the market aim to mimic their flavors without the alcohol content.

Some brands offer zero-proof versions designed as alternatives in mocktails or low-alcohol beverages.

5. Is Aperol sour or not?

Aperol is not typically considered sour. It has a slightly bitter taste with sweet and herbal notes. 

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