Aperol Tequila Swizzle Cocktail

Aperol Tequila Swizzle


 I need a step stool to make gems like this Aperol Tequila cocktail.

Some bottles of booze may not be a current “main squeeze” but are more of a rather queer stash of alcoholic this-and-that sitting up high in the inconvenient cabinet behind the refrigerator.  Here they serve as my alcoholic booty calls — ready to satisfy me at a moment’s notice, but never asking any real commitment from me. I would probably toss them out where it not for the lack of conviction to even say goodbye. I don’t like to waste. You see letting them slowly deteriorate up here is just a little less wasteful than tossing them outright.

Its when the ‘main cabinet bottles’ fail to inspire or excite me I get a step stool and crawl up to the inconvenient shelf  and take a look — that is, if I remember they are up there in the first place. I can go a long time without remembering. 

Safe from my Beloved’s period urges to sweep through our kitchen with a trashcan, they are:

  • My inheritance. In addition to the old set of china and some $8000 in utility bonds I inherited 25 years or so ago I received a dusty box of the spirits my grandmother kept in her own misfit storage cabinet. The bequest included a tall bottle of Galliano I never once saw her drink. She must have inherited it from her own grandmother so I keep it here and plan to leave it to one of my nieces when I die.


  • Vacation souvenirs. I could not get enough of that limoncello while tripping through the Amalfi Coast one summer yet once I got home and uncorked the bottle I wrangled through half of Europe I found I didn’t much care for it. Without the sunshine and the view the flavor just wasn’t the same. Ten other bottles of regional specialties that didn’t quite translate sit here as well.


  • One shot wonders. The rest were purchased due to some passing obsession that I now seem to be over with. I include here the bottle of absinthe I just had to have but once never drank at home. Never has a guest of mine asked for an absinthe but I do feel some pride knowing I am ready to recreate the Belle Époque in my living room case they ever do.

The bottle of Aperol sat somewhere between my vacation souvenirs and the one shot wonders. I couldn’t get enough of its not-too-bitter orange flavor while in Rome several years ago so naturally I rushed home and foisted an Aperol Spritz into the hand of everyone who happened by between 4PM and 7PM — peak apertivo time. And yet predictably I soon tired not only of the drink, but also the need to open a new bottle of prosecco each time I wanted to serve it.

Without any idea as to what else I could do with it the bottle was eventually relegated to The Cabinet.

Aperol Tequila Sizzle

Thanks to cookbook author and blogger Greg Henry the Aperol is back down off the shelf to cycle through another circle of life. A quick read through his beautifully photographed book “Savory Cocktails” (published last year by Ulysses Press) has breathed new life to the many forgotten treasures stored up in my misfit cabinet. Even the Galliano gets a reprieve! (My poor niece will just have to buy her own bottle! )

Aperol’s bitter orange complexity is a natural foil for tequila and as presented here it makes a nice choice for anyone wanting to enjoy its summer associations without all the sugar of a margarita. I wrote to Greg’s publisher asking if I could reprint his recipe so here it is!


aperol tequila swizzle-1-2

Aperol Tequila Swizzle

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 1

Aperol Tequila Swizzle

Reprinted by permission from Savory Cocktails by Greg Henry.

"This a fun drink. Maybe that’s why Aperol has become the darling of the cocktail world, just in time for this Italian liqueur’s centennial. It has the bitter complexity of orange peel and goes down easy. It’s something they’d serve at “happy hour” in Italy, though they wouldn’t call it felice oro. Instead, it’s known as apertivo, and it’s like an ebullient cocktail party happily scheduled every day during those possibility-filled hours between work and dinner. Like a cocktail party, the apertivo is certain to include stuzzichini (toothpick) bites, or even crunchy American-style snacks. The drinks will be light, too, designed to engage the appetite for the meal to come."

This is what you will need:

  • 2 fl oz tequila blanco
  • 1 fl oz Aperol
  • 2 or 3 dashes grapefruit or orange bitters
  • 2 to 3 fl oz club soda
  • 1 pinch coarse salt
  • 1 grapefruit twist or slice of lemon, as garnish

This is how you make it:

  1. Fill a wine goblet or highball glass with medium ice cubes; add the tequila, Aperol, and bitters. Use a swizzle stick or straw to stir the ingredients until just blended. Top with club soda and a pinch of salt; stir gently and garnish with a grapefruit twist. Serve with the swizzle stick or straw.


In case you have been wondering what I’ve been up to recently… I just had the pleasure of being interviewed for CilantroCooks.com.  There little place on the web is a cook’s shop filled with lots of cooking this and that.   They asked me what it was I’ve been cooking lately so I shared with them an easy recipe for Pan Fried Steak with Mushrooms and Spinach that I’ve been making a LOT lately but just haven’t had the time to share it with you here.  Jump over there to take a look when you get a chance!

About Trevor Kensey

To be truthful, I don't know what “Sis. Boom. [blog!]" means either. The name implies something explosive just happened I suppose I would like it if each post would make made a small 'boom' in your day or at least a fizzle. Even though a recipe is included with every post I have a hard time calling this a "food blog" or even myself a "food blogger".

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  1. Great post – this drink sounds great – will have to try. One of my favorite phrases in cocktail-dom is “absinthe wash”, which is about the only time the stuff is used in my house.

    My hidden gem is a bottle of Aloe Vera Liqueur…I think they call it Chareau. Of course, just had to have when I first heard about it…but, it’s not called for in any “traditional” recipes, so it got stuck away on the shelf. Recently pulled it out and just started playing around with it…it’s got a nice summery taste, as well. Some of that, mixed with a little Marischino liqueur, 1/2 a lime and a couple dashes of grapefruit bitters, shaken and poured in a tall glass, then topped off with tonic, makes the whole thing come off sort of like an “adult” Fresca…still playing around with it, though.

  2. Trevor you reminded me of my own misfit liquor cabinet that I periodically vow to work my way through until I use up all the 1/2 to mostly full bottles of one hit wonders! I haven’t tried Aperol but I wonder if Campari is similar enough to work. I guess all who are one step away from a 12 step program have a similar stash! Nice post and picture!

  3. I adore Greg’s book, and already own a copy – so do let it go to another. That said, I adore Aperol, and I simply can not tell you how much of it I run through in a year. I LOVE IT. I’ m with you on the Limoncello – not my style. Hint – try some Acqua di Cedro, a grappa from Nardini if you are looking for a citrus flavor with a dry finish. Once I tasted the Acaqua di Cedro, the Limoncello moved WAY to the back of the cabinet to be pulled out only for dessert recipes. Truth told, the stranger lurking in my cabinet is tequila. I just never drink it… something about a lost weekend way back in my twenties, best not revisit that one.

  4. I just bought a bottle of Aperol a few weeks ago. I had no idea what I was going to do with it but I didn’t have any so I needed it. Now I have some inspiration. This will definitely be my pre-dinner cocktail tonight.

  5. I really enjoyed this post…. I have that same cabinet. It’s over my oven it’s very deep and probably has 50 bottles 30 of which are one shot wonders….. I actually think I have TWO bottles of Aperol. I was going to make a punch for a party but when I did my test I decided it would not be a crowd pleaser… so tonight I will try your little inspiraton! Thanks 🙂

  6. chelsea says:

    I have a beautiful bottle of Domaine de Canton Ginger Liquor that graces my bar but has never been opened. My vision of preparing fancy cocktails for my guests generally turns into “hey, lets open a bottle of wine!”.

  7. I have been wanting to try aperol. My manservant has plenty of tequilas to match it with. I , on the other hand, love St. Germain. And then I bought this voilette liquor that we can’t figure out what to make with it-though it does give cocktails that gorgeous purple color. And then we have benedictine, which was on sale when a liquor store was going out of business. They had a lot of benedictine. I wonder if that was a clue.

  8. Great post beautiful drink. I think Abbe should win the book because there ideas in that book for Elderflower, Violette AND Benedictine! GREG

  9. jacquie says:

    no current stashes as I can’t really afford the luxury of not enjoying what I purchase so I tend to “play it safe” and not explore as I should.

  10. Vintage Galliano. You are such a thoughful uncle.

    I already own Greg’s book – so I won’t rehash what’s hiding in the cabinet too much. Although Absinthe, Pedro Ximinez and St. Germaine are all patiently waiting their turn for a re-appearance.

    I recently tossed the bottle(s) of homemade limoncello that a co-worker bequeathed upon us. (Sometimes, DIY just shouldn’t happen.)

  11. Nice Swizzle 😉 And a fun story too. I recently unearthed a bottle from my own “One Shot Wonders” shelf. It’s a delicious liquor called Dimmi that I was mixing into cocktails several years back. Now I’m using it in desserts!

    I really need to get my hands on a bottle of Aperol, so I can give this recipe a try. I’ve also envisioned myself having a casual Aperol spritz during the post-work happy hour that needs to happen more often. Cheers!

  12. So I am not the only one with a cabinet for unloved booze. I can’t make myself toss it out but I doubt I’ll ever open one again.

    I have Greg’s book too and maybe I should get the book and revisit ‘the cabinet.’

  13. Alcoholic booty call. I love you, man.

  14. I inherited a bottle of a Galliano from my mom . It sits in the corner of my kitchen. The stranger lurking in my cabinet is something called Hum which is supposed to be a hibiscus flavoured liquor. I was waiting for my husband to make a decision in the single malt section and I guess I got caught up and was smitten by the image of the hummingbird on the bottle. Might have to pick up a bottle of Aperol for my summer beach cottage vacation.

  15. Why am I always drawn to Sis Booz!? I just skipped three other posts because Aperol was calling my name. I have a few of those vacation trinkets in the wet bar. I also seem to be the only one I know with a fondness of Fernet Branca, and my guests never seem to appreciate it as their after dinner quaffing…..

  16. So glad you revived this post. I miss your witty commentary—as I think so many of us can relate to a liquor cabinet packed with odds and ends. Sadly, mine is lacking Aperol. Hope you’ve been well!