Perfect Aperol Sour Cocktail Recipe with Whiskey

This Aperol Sour cocktail recipe is tart, bold, and delicious. It combines Aperol, whiskey, and lemon juice to create a fun, vibrant drink.

Ever since the Aperol Spritz became popular, the slightly bitter and vibrantly orange-colored liquor has been popping up in many cocktails. It is commonly combined with another liquor to create a delicious and complex drink. This Aperol Sour recipe is unique because it uses whiskey instead of gin and doesn’t use egg whites.

aperol sour

The Whiskey Aperol Sour is a fun spin on the classic sour cocktail. The bitterness of the Aperol, balanced with a spicy whiskey, tart lemon, and a touch of sugar creates a refreshing, sippable cocktail.

What Is an Aperol Sour?

A Sour is a popular cocktail that contains lemon or lime juice, liquor, and a sweetener. The name “sour” comes from the tart lemon juice. Sours are often made with whiskey, gin, or vodka. But any liquor can be used for a sour cocktail. Typically, Sours also contain frothy egg white or a foaming vegan alternative. They give the cocktail a white foam top layer and a creamy mouth feel. This recipe skips the foamy top in favor of making it simpler.

In Aperol Sours, Aperol is the base liquor. Aperol is a bittersweet, aromatic Italian aperitif. Aperitifs are dry and bitter liqueurs meant to stimulate the appetite. They are typically served before or after a meal to help with digestion. Aperol is derived from rhubarb and other roots. Despite its bright orange color, it does not contain oranges or orange juice! 

This recipe combines Aperol, whiskey, fresh lemon juice, and sugar syrup to create a refreshing cocktail. It is a tart, mildly sweet, and refreshing easy cocktail. Aperol drinks are excellent for sipping before or after a great meal.

Why I Chose Whiskey Instead of Gin

Many Aperol sour recipes call for gin as the secondary liquor. This recipe uses whiskey. I chose whiskey for two reasons. First, whiskey has a deep, rich flavor. It is spicy, smokey, and just a tad sweet. Those flavors are the perfect complement to the bitterness of Aperol. It is a great alternative because it adds a more complex flavor profile to the cocktail. Second, I just prefer whiskey to gin.

Ingredients for an Aperol Sour

  • Aperol – A bright orange, bitter liquor meant to stimulate the appetite. It pairs well with bright citrus notes and bold spirits.
  • Whiskey – This rich and smooth spirit is the perfect complement for Aperol. It has notes of vanilla, fruit, and oak which gives it a sweetness that offsets the bitterness of the aperitif. Use your favorite whiskey or a mid-shelf brand like Wild Turkey or Jameson. I used the more affordable Jack Daniels whiskey in this cocktail.
  • Lemon Juice – Freshly squeezed lemon juice gives this cocktail its sour name. It adds bright citrus flavor, and acidity, and helps balance the flavors of the drink.
  • Simple Syrup – A splash of simple syrup adds a little additional sweetness to the cocktail.
aperol sour

Homemade Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is one of the best ingredients for adding sweetness to a cocktail. Make your own simple syrup using ingredients from grocery stores. It’s an incredibly easy sugar syrup.

  • Add 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar to a small saucepan.
  • Heat the saucepan on medium-low heat. It does not need to boil!
  • Continuously stir the water-sugar mixture until all of the sugar dissolves.
  • Pour into a glass jar.
  • Allow the syrup to cool. Then, place it in the refrigerator.

A homemade simple syrup lasts for about 6 months in the refrigerator.

The Aperol Sour Pairs Well With:

Since Aperol is an aperitif, this cocktail is meant to be served before or after a meal. The bitterness means it pairs well with bold rich flavors, like savory meat dishes or sharp cheeses. The bitterness also complements a sweet dessert, like chocolate.

aperol sour

How to Make an Aperol Sour

This Aperol Sour cocktail recipe is a great addition to your next dinner party. Its mix of fresh citrus juices with bitter Aperol makes it a refreshing drink that is perfect for Aperol lovers.

Step 1 – In a cocktail shaker, combine Aperol, whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup.

Step 2 – Add a handful of ice to the shaker. Then firmly place the lid on the cocktail shaker. Shake for 30 seconds to combine the cocktail ingredients and chill them.

Step 3 – Strain the cocktail into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist or an orange slice floating on top. The orange color matches the beautiful cocktail perfectly.

What Type of Cocktail Glass Do I Use?

  • Martini glass – Martini glasses have a large bowl. This allows the cocktail to “breathe.” A cocktail breathing means that the alcohol is dispersed more evenly in the cocktail. The stem is important because it allows the martini to stay cold. It would warm quickly if you touched the glass since it doesn’t contain ice.
  • Coupe glass – Coupe glasses are similar to martini glasses. They have a large mouth and a stem. The large mouth of the glass allows you to take in the scents of the cocktail as you drink. Smelling a cocktail as you drink it changes the flavor profile. A chilled coupe glass is ideal for this drink.

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Can I Make Aperol Sours in Advance?

Yes! Aperol Sours are an excellent cocktail to make in advance. Combine all of the ingredients, without ice, and store in an airtight jar or glass bottle until time to serve. Store the delicious drink in the refrigerator for up to a week. Just keep in mind, that the flavor profile may change a bit the longer you store it! Use the dry shake method (shaking without ice) or combine ice and shake before serving the stored cocktail.

Make This Cocktail in Bulk

Since this cocktail stores so nicely, it’s also a great cocktail to make in bulk. Multiply the ingredients for one drink by the number of guests you wish to serve. Combine all of the ingredients, without ice, in a large pitcher and store in the refrigerator until it’s time to serve. 

This great aperitif cocktail is one of my favorite drinks for dinner parties. It’s the perfect Aperol cocktail with simple ingredients and delicious flavor.

More Fun Cocktail Ideas

aperol sour

Aperol Sour

An Aperol sour is a tart, bold, and delicious cocktail. It combines Aperol, whiskey, and lemon juice for a fun spin on the classic sour drink.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine Drinks & Smoothies
Servings 2 people


  • 1 cocktail shaker
  • Coupe or Old Fashion cocktail glasses


  • 6 oz Aperol
  • 4 oz whiskey
  • 2 oz lemon juice
  • 1.5 oz simple syrup
  • ice


  • In a cocktail shaker, combine Aperol, whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup.
  • Add a handful of ice to the shaker.
  • Firmly place the top on the shaker.
  • Shake for 30 seconds to a full minute.
  • Strain the cocktail into a coupe glass or an old fashion glass.
  • Garnish with a lemon peel twist or a lemon slice floating on top.
Keyword cocktail


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