A Cheat Sheet – Aperol Vs. Campari

Both coming from the charming country of Italy, Aperol vs. Campari are favorites among bitter lovers. Some people love these drinks as they are, without mixing them with anything. Others opt for flavorsome cocktails whose main ingredient is either Aperol or Spritz. But is Aperol the same as Campari? If not, what is the difference between Campari and Aperol?

Check out this article that will definitely help you choose Aperol vs. Campari!

What is Aperol?

We should first outline a general idea about each to understand what the difference between Aperol vs. Campari is. So what is Aperol?

Aperol is a bright orange Italian bitter. People typically drink it before lunch or dinner to stimulate their appetite. This makes Aperol an aperitif. This beverage consists of herbs, roots, and oranges. Aperol alcohol content is 11%.

Spritz is one of the most popular drinks people use, with Aperol as the main ingredient. This beverage consists of prosecco, soda water, and digestive bitters. So if people use Aperol for making Spritz, they’ll call it Aperol Spritz. 

But what does Aperol taste like? We’ll find out soon!

What is Campari?

Like Aperol, Campari is also an Italian drink. It’s a dark red liqueur, which people often use as an aperitif. It mixes an infusion of herbs and fruit with water and alcohol. Campari alcohol content is 20.5 to 28.5%.

People often use Campari for cocktails, usually mixed with pink grapefruit juice. Campari Spritz is also a popular drink.

What Does Aperol Taste Like?

Aperol has a bitter taste with a touch of citrus flavor. The Aperol brand describes the drink as having “complex herbal scents harmonized with a touch of vanilla” with a back taste of “herbal long pleasant typical bitterness.”

What Does Campari Taste Like?

Since Campari has a higher ABV than Aperol, it has a stronger taste. It is bitter with a touch of cherry and orange. It’s a pleasant combination of bitterness and sweetness. The Campari brand says it is “pleasantly bitter with a velvety aftertaste,” having “intense notes of orange, herbs, and wood.”

Aperol vs. Campari – The Differences

If you’re still unsure what to choose, Campari vs. Aperol, here are some differences that can help you decide.


While both beverages come from Italy, the region differs. Luigi and Silvio Barbieri invented this drink in 1919 in Padua. However, it became popular only after World War II. On the other hand, Gaspare Campari created the Campari drink fifty years before, in 1860, in a city called Novara located in northwest Italy.

Alcohol Content

The alcohol content is probably one of the most important things to consider when choosing a drink, depending on your preferences. If you want a light bitter drink with a touch of citrus flavor, you should opt for Aperol, which has an alcohol content of only 11%. So it’s basically wine with a much stronger flavor.

By contrast, Campari’s alcohol content is much higher, ranging between 20.5% and 28.5%. It’s almost as strong as tequila if we were to judge upon the 35% bottles of tequila.


The easiest way to distinguish between Aperol and Campari is their colors. Aperol has a bright orange color with a reddish touch, which makes it the perfect ingredient for vibrant drinks and cocktails. Read our article and find out 23 CLASSIC Italian Cocktails To Make at Home.

Campari’s color is darker. Its color is a mix between dark red, orange, and brown, giving it a unique, vibrant shade. This color came from carmine dye, which, in turn, came from crushed cochineal insects. However, since 2006, the brand has been using artificial colors.

Taste and Alcohol Content

Campari flavor is definitely more bitter than Aperol flavor. Moreover, it has a sweet taste with touches of cherry, rhubarb, and cinnamon, among others. The higher alcohol content also affects its taste.

Aperol is sweeter and less bitter than Campari. People who do not like having a bitter aftertaste should definitely consider choosing Aperol as an aperitif. Moreover, Aperol’s alcohol content is 11%, which makes it a perfect, easy drink to enjoy before dinner.

Can You Substitute Aperol With Campari?

Yes, you can substitute Aperol with Campari. Since they are similar drinks and have approximately the same taste and color, with a few differences here and there, people can easily substitute them. 

Deciding which beverage you should use highly depends on your preferences. Do you like your drink more bitter or sweater? Do you want it to have a higher or lower alcohol content?

Popular Campari Cocktails

Negroni Cocktail

The Negroni cocktail is by far the most popular cocktail based on Campari. Count Negroni invented this drink in 1919. He asked Fosco Scarselli to replace soda water in his Americano cocktail with a splash of gin. 

The Negroni cocktail includes 1 part Campari, 1 part gin, and 1 part Sweet Vermouth. A slice of fresh orange will give it a unique taste. Bartenders serve this cocktail in rock tumbler glasses.

Nowadays, people have invented other Negroni versions. One is the Negroni Sbagliato which contains sparkling wine instead of gin. Another variation for the Negroni is the Mezcal Negroni, which uses mezcal instead of gin.

Negroni Cocktail

Campari Spritz

Another popular refreshing beverage based on Campari is the well-known Campari Spritz. It consists of two parts, Campari, three parts Prosecco, and 1 part of soda water. Bartenders always garnish the drink with a slice of orange. The perfect glass for Aperol Spritz is a wine glass.

Boulevardier Cocktail

People often say the Boulevardier Cocktail has a much better taste than the classic Negroni. Bartenders make it from Campari, Sweet Vermouth, and bourbon or rye whiskey, thus creating a bitter and, at the same time, spicy drink.

Boulevardier Cocktail

Jungle Bird Cocktail

Jungle Bird Cocktail is definitely something, as it combines tropical flavors with Campari! It mixes Campari, dark rum, pineapple juice, and lime juice. Just imagine what it tastes like! Sweet, fruity, sour, bitter – an odd blend of flavors that perfectly complete each other!

Delicious Cocktails Containing Aperol

Aperol Spritz

The orange Aperol Spritz is definitely the most popular drink based on Aperol. Here’s how you can prepare it: add ice to a wine glass, pour three parts of prosecco, two parts of Aperol, and one splash of soda water. Afterward, garnish the drink with an orange slice. Another Aperol Spritz version mixes the same amount of prosecco and Aperol.

Aperol Spritz

Aperol Cosmopolitan

Aperol Cosmopolitan is another popular drink that mixes Aperol, vodka, and oranges. Its bright, vibrant orange color enhanced by the citrus gives it a refreshing appearance!

Paper Plane Cocktail

The Paper Plane Cocktail is a delicious mix of flavors! It’s a mix of four drinks added in equal quantities: Aperol, Amaro Nonino (another bitter Italian liqueur), bourbon, and lemon juice. It resembles the Campari Boulevardier Cocktail, but it also has a touch of sourness.


Aperol and Campari are similar drinks. They often serve as the main ingredient for many delicious cocktails. However, some things can tell them apart, such as their origin, color, and components. 

If you’re trying to decide between the two, you should consider their alcohol content and taste. Campari is a stronger drink, with an alcohol content of up to 28.5%, and is more bitter than Aperol. On the other hand, Aperol has a lighter, less bitter taste and alcohol content of 11%.