Aperol Sunset 1.000

James M. Thresher for The Washington Post; Glassware From Vivi

Apr 1, 2009

Orange-hued Aperol makes everything look pretty, including this delicious cocktail with its tasty balance of sweet and bitter.

The original recipe, by Audrey Saunders at the Pegu Club in New York, calls for a simple syrup made with Demerara sugar. It also calls for a garnish of edible flowers such as pansies or daisies. Spirits columnist Jason Wilson recommends omitting the Demerara syrup (the grapefruit syrup is enough) and using an orange peel twist if you don't have edible flowers on hand.

Servings: 1
  • Ice
  • 2 ounces blanco tequila
  • 1 ounce Aperol
  • 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce grapefruit syrup (see NOTES)
  • 1/4 ounce Demarara syrup (optional; see NOTES)
  • Twist of orange peel, for garnish


Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add the blanco tequila, Aperol, lemon juice, grapefruit syrup and Demerara syrup, if desired. Shake for 20 to 30 seconds, then strain into a cocktail (martini) glass. Garnish with the orange peel twist.

NOTES: To make the grapefruit syrup, combine 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water and 1 cup superfine sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves; do not bring to a boil. Let cool, then add the zest of 1 large grapefruit (with as little pith as possible). Transfer to a container; the syrup will be ready to use in a few hours, but the flavors will be well infused if the syrup is allowed to sit for 12 to 24 hours. Use a fine-mesh strainer to strain the syrup, pressing on the zest to extract as much flavor as possible. Discard the zest. Makes about 1 1/2 cups. Cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 1 month.

To make Demerara syrup, bring 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup Demerara sugar (unrefined, large-crystal sugar) and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring, until it has dissolved. Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 5 minutes, until just slightly thickened. Remove from the heat to cool. Makes about 1 1/4 cups. Cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

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Recipe Source

From "Tequila," by Joanne Weir (Ten Speed Press, 2009).

Tested by Michael Taylor.

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