The Aperol Spritz — a straightforwardly named concoction of soda water, prosecco and orange liqueur — is as much cultural birthright in its native Italy as it is an aperitivo. The drink’s origins hark back to the 19th century: when Habsburg soldiers occupying Veneto used water to dilute the region’s local wines in an effort to make them more palatable. Though they were eventually expelled from Italy, the Austrians left their ‘wine-and-something weaker’ legacy behind. By 1920, Italian bartenders had begun adding soda to the equation; and the traditional alcoholic base was substituted in favour of fruit-flavoured liqueurs such as Aperol. The low ABV, semi-sweet aperitif was first released in 1919, and would go on to achieve popularity in North America and the UK a few decades later: thanks in part to ingenious marketing involving its marriage with fizzes like lemonade and sparkling wine. Lo and behold, the Aperol Spritz as we know it was born.
In 2019, the classic pre-dinner cooler is once again experiencing something of a golden era. Sun kissed Instagram models flaunt Aperol Spritzes atop cliffs and catamarans — complete with a mountain of ‘Spritz Life’ hashtags — whereas many city-bound professionals quaff theirs by the pitcher, charmed by the carefree insouciance that Aperol’s appearance suggests. Here then — just in case you’ve yet to discover this staple of the cocktail world — are five of our favourite Aperol Spritz bars in Hong Kong: guaranteed to help you keep your cool this summer!