Though it’s similar in color to Campari, Aperol is much milder than its uber-bitter cousin. While it’s primarily known for its role in the Aperol Spritz, the liqueur also lends its lightly bitter, zesty flavor to cocktails like the Garibaldi and Hudson Yards Swizzle. If you don’t want to spring for both Aperol and Campari, the two can be used interchangeably, but keep in mind that drinks made with Aperol won’t have the same bitter pungency as those made with Campari.
This bitter, vegetal and somewhat obscure liqueur is an easy way to add intrigue to your cocktails. Not only is it delightful on its own over ice or in a Poison Dart, but it can also be swapped in for sweet vermouth in a Manhattan or mixed with everything from scotch to tequila to port. You could also give it a whirl in a Negroni or Americano in place of Campari for a darker, moodier take on the classic cocktails.
Pimm's No. 1
The Pimm’s Cup may be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the decidedly British Pimm’s fruit liqueur, but the 25-percent ABV liqueur can be used in a number of ways. Made from a base of gin and fortified with fruits, herbs and quinine, Pimm’s No. 1 can be sipped on its own over ice, mixed with lemonade or soda water or used in a variety of cocktails, including the low-proof Tristram Shandy and Tropicalia Pimm’s Cooler. There’s hardly a better aperitif liqueur to have on hand when hosting a summertime party.
Pastis is a great low-ABV alternative to absinthe, which typically has a proof of over 100. Like its higher proof kin, pastis appears translucent in the bottle, but once water is added it turns milky and opaque. It’s also heavily flavored with anise, so if you like black licorice, you’re in luck. For a perfect pastis-based aperitif, swap it in for absinthe in a Death in the Afternoon or simply dilute it with water and serve it over ice with orange or lemon rind.