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Rhubarb Aperol Spritz – That Escalated Quickly

4.67 from 3 votes

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Aperol spritz cocktail with dried blood orange and rhubarb curl
That Escalated Quickly – Rhubarb Aperol Spritz

The last rhubarb cocktail for the week is going to be a Rhubarb Aperol Spritz because a) it’s the weekend and b) you can make this as strong as you like by swapping out the soda for a sparkling wine.

All this week I’ve been playing with some rhubarb peppercorn syrup I made and today I wanted something that would play more with citrus notes rather than yesterday’s berries in the Wake Me Up When I’m Famous – Strawberry Rhubarb Smash. Today, rather than focusing on bringing out more of the peppercorn in the simple syrup, I’m matching the flavors with Solerno blood orange liqueur, whiskey and Aperol.

First, I wanted to keep that bright pink color I have from the rhubarb syrup. Second, citrus and whiskey play so well together, I wanted to get rhubarb in on the fun.

Now, although Aperol is a bitter appertif, it is much sweeter than Campari – even with the bitter tones. You could dial down the sweetness of the cocktail by adding some bitters that play into the citrus notes (orange or Meyer lemon bitters) or by adding warming elements (like chili or spicy bitters).

I decided to forgo the bitters to keep the cocktail easy to make and sweeter than I would normally otherwise. And when you build the cocktail, if you’d rather keep to a non-alcoholic topper, like soda water, that’s a great match, but if you want to knock your socks off, top it with a dry sparkling wine. You’ll only need one or two to get you going if you do. Thus the name, That Escalated Quickly.

Aperol spritz cocktail with dried blood orange and rhubarb curl
That Escalated Quickly – Rhubarb Aperol Spritz

While I used a rye whiskey (Woodford Reserve) to build this Rhubarb Aperol Spritz, any smooth whiskey will fit the bill, just make sure it’s not overly oaky or peaty. Adding smoke to the mix in this cocktail is not recommended, and a peaty whiskey would overwhelm all the other flavors in the cocktail.

If you’d like to see my other rhubarb simple syrup cocktails this week check out the Strawberry Rhubarb Smash and the Rhubarb Peppercorn Old Fashioned.

Aperol spritz cocktail with dried blood orange and rhubarb curl

Rhubarb Aperol Spritz – That Escalated Quickly

Picture of Heather Wibbels, Cocktail Contessa, pouring a cocktailHeather Wibbels
Take your spritz game up a notch with some rhubarb simple syrup, a little whiskey and a bit of blood orange liqueur. It’s a cocktail you can easily dial up or down in ABV by choosing a particular topper – whether it’s a non-alcoholic soda or your favorite sparkling wine. If you choose champagne or sparkling wine, be careful. These sneak up on you.
4.67 from 3 votes
Course Drinks
Cuisine Sptriz
Servings 1


  • 1.5 oz Woodford Reserve Rye Whiskey
  • 1 oz Aperol
  • ½ oz rhubarb peppercorn simple syrup
  • ½ oz Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur
  • 2 -4 oz soda water or champagne if you’re feeling fancy
  • Garnish: dried blood orange wheel rhubarb spirals.


  • Combine whiskey, Aperol, simple syrup and blood orange liqueur in a mixing glass. Add ice and stir until well-combined. Strain into a champagne flute and top with soda water or your favorite sparkling wine. Made best in sets of two. While a spritz is usually served over ice, I went without this time to make a more elegant weekend cocktail.


**Rhubarb Peppercorn Syrup
  • 1  c chopped rhubarb
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 c water
  • 2 tsp peppercorns, lightly cracked
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down and let simmer for at least 20 minutes, or until the rhubarb breaks down and becomes mushy. Strain through a colander, then a fine mesh sieve to get as much of the rhubarb solids out as possible. Reserve the solids for use on baked goods, ice cream or as garnish on a lovely salmon steak. Store in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.
Keyword aperol spritz, blood orange, rhubarb, rye, rye cocktail
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By on June 6th, 2020
Picture of Heather Wibbels, Cocktail Contessa, pouring a cocktail

About Heather Wibbels

Heather Wibbels is a whiskey and cocktail author (Executive Bourbon Steward, no less) with a passion for cocktails. She loves researching and designing cocktails, drinking cocktails, and teaching cocktails. Mostly whiskey cocktails, given her Kentucky location.

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