Created in 1919, Aperol is an Italian aperitif comprising sweet and bitter oranges, rhubarb, gentian root, cinchona bark, and other closely guarded ingredients. "Aperol is bright and bracing, but because of its lighter color it's often overlooked as a bitter component for its more well-known cousin Campari," notes Laura Unterberg, head bartender at The Fox Bar & Cocktail Club in Nashville. "But the gentian and bitter orange- forward qualities of Aperol make it a great addition to drinks."
When it comes to pairing whisky with bitter ingredients, the Prohibition-era Boulevard-ier- a mix of bourbon or rye, Campari, and sweet vermouth- may come to mind, but there's a modern classic featuring Aperol that deserves attention. The Paper Plane created in 2007 by New York City mixologists Sasha Petraske and Sam Ross features bourbon, Aperol, Nomino amaro, and lemon juice. This cocktail shows that Aperol's sweet orange component matches well with whisky.