Skip to main content

This tart twist on the Aperol spritz will be your favorite new cocktail — and we’ve got an amazing recipe

Aperol spritz alternative: Meet the rhubarb spritz

Sprtiz
federica ariemma/Unsplash

If you live under a proverbial rock, don’t spend your days on social media, or simply aren’t up to date on the trending cocktails du jour, you might not know that the Aperol spritz is going through a renaissance right now. First created for Venetian palates back in 1920, this more than 100-year-old aperitif (before-dinner drink) is commonly made with prosecco (Italian sparking wine), Aperol (an herbal, Italian digestive liqueur), and soda water. While always popular in Italy, it’s become one of the most popular before-dinner, afternoon, or anytime cocktails of the last few years.

But while the classic recipe is an outstanding, refreshing, bittersweet way to whet your appetite before a nice lunch, dinner, or evening snack, it’s the kind of versatile mixed drink that shines even brighter when its ingredients are mixed and matched and even switched out for other complementary flavors. Today, we’re specifically talking about the addition of rhubarb. Who doesn’t love more rhubarb recipes, right?

All about rhubarb

If you didn’t know it already, rhubarb is the meaty, fleshy stalk of another plant called Rheum. Cooked, it’s used as an ingredient in pies and other recipes. It’s known for its almost celery-like consistency and flavors of tart, acidic citrus peels, and a light sourness. If you haven’t guessed it already, these flavors are perfect for a refreshing, crisp, easy-drinking cocktail. It’s a way to easily update your spritz recipes.

And since your drink wouldn’t be very tasty if you simply whipped it up and plunked in a few chunks of rhubarb, you have to make rhubarb simple syrup before you get started even thinking about the other ingredients:

  • To make it, add 2-3 stalks of chopped rhubarb to a saucepan.
  • Add a cup of granulated sugar and a cup of water.
  • Turn the heat to slow and slowly stir.
  • When everything is incorporated, remove the rhubarb and add the rhubarb simple syrup to a squirt bottle for later use.

The quality of the drink hinges on the rhubarb simple syrup. Simple syrup on its own is made with water and sugar to make an extremely sweet flavoring that’s used in a multitude of cocktails, including a classic old-fashioned or mojito (if you don’t have time to muddle a sugar cube). The addition of rhubarb will make the syrup a mix of tart citrus and sweet sugar. What could be better?

The best part? This tart, lightly sour, semisweet cocktail doesn’t completely lose its popular Aperol addition. Instead of being the showcase liqueur, it’s a side flavor that’s used to enhance the other included flavors. This drink is fresh, refreshing, thirst-quenching, and just might become your new go-to aperitif.

Aperol Sprtiz
Kike Salazar/Unsplash

Rhubarb spritz recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces of rhubarb syrup
  • 3 ounces prosecco
  • A few dashes of Aperol
  • Sparkling water topper
  • Orange wheel garnish

Preparation:

  • Add ice to a large wine glass.
  • Add rhubarb simple syrup, prosecco, and a few dashes of Aperol.
  • Top with your favorite sparkling water.
  • Gently stir to combine.
  • Add an orange wheel garnish.
  • Maybe add a rhubarb stalk or two as a garnish as well? Or better yet, don’t.

Editors' Recommendations

Christopher Osburn
Christopher Osburn is a food and drinks writer located in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. He's been writing professional
This is our new favorite cold brew concentrate for nightcaps and coffee cocktails
Try this cold brew concentrate in everything from desserts to cocktails
People enjoying coffee cocktails.

Some people can have a cup of coffee at 9 p.m. and go right to sleep. The rest of us need to stop drinking caffeine by noon to even try to get to bed at a decent time. But if an end-of-the-day nightcap has you craving something with a coffee flavor, how can you make sure you won't be up all night? The crew at The Manual sampled Explorer's Cold Brew Concentrate — sans caffeine — and wants you to try it shaken, not stirred, in your next espresso martini.
The cold, concentrated truth

Before you make your first creation, know Explorer Cold Brew cares about offsetting emissions, the environmental impact of the whole process, and sourcing organic, fair-trade beans. The company also gives back, with every gourmet purchase leading to a donation to Charity:Water, which brings clean drinking water to areas without it. Every sip of your coffee-themed drink using Explorer Cold Brew is important — remember that.
Pick your caffeine level
Yes, there is a 99.9% caffeine-free option for those late-night drinks to help you unwind. But if you wanted your martini to give you an extra pick-me-up before your night out, choose one of the caffeinated options.
Find your flavor
For the cost of one cup of coffee from Starbucks, you can add a flavor to your cold brew. You could never go wrong with vanilla, but the choice of sea salt caramel is there if you feel adventurous.
Make it an elite elixir
A coffee cocktail will ease you into bed if you add an elixir. The Dreamer is perfect for sleepy time, and The Optimist is there to help you unwind.
A little goes a long way
Remember, this is cold brew concentrate. Don't give the $45 price any side eye. One 32oz bottle will make 20 cups of coffee, making the price per cup around $2.25. Do you know the last time you had cold brew that cheap? Don't lie.
Decaf doesn't have to mean disappointing

Read more
How to make the Vancouver cocktail: Reviving a vintage classic
Add this obscure drink to your home bar cocktail list
The Vancouver cocktail

Born in the Canadian city for which it is named, the Vancouver is a fairly obscure cocktail that nearly went extinct. Its serendipitous rediscovery some 15 years ago has aided its rise among the cocktail-loving cognoscenti. When made properly, the combination of gin, Bénédictine, sweet vermouth, and orange bitters makes a brilliant match, with earthy complexity thanks to its fruity, spicy, and herbaceous profile. While it’s all the rage in western Canada, the Vancouver cocktail is one drink that’s poised to become a universal classic.
How to make the Vancouver cocktail

Ingredients:

Read more
How to make a heavenly Sidecar cocktail
It's a classic cocktail for a reason — let us show you how to add the Sidecar to your cocktail repertoire
Sidecar cocktail

Cognac is back, and it's anything but your granddaddy's go-to drink. The grape-based spirit within the brandy family has undergone a renaissance and one of its best forms, the classic Sidecar cocktail, is coming back to life in bars across the country.

Western France's most famous distilled export jumped an estimated 15% in sales in 2023. It's being appreciated more and more for its wine-like complexity and inventive cocktail bars all over the globe are finding new ways to use the stuff.

Read more