cocktail with lager and Aperol

Two-Ingredient Cocktail Recipe: Aperol Beer

If you aren’t thinking “beer” when you think about Aperol, it might be time to think again. You might never have considered mixing the bittersweet aperitif with beer, but this duo is the sophisticated-yet-lawless two-parter we’ll be guzzling all summer long. Aperol is the brightly-hued Italian liqueur that’s been taking the brunch scene by storm in recent years with its best-known iteration, the Aperol Spritz. But, this orange beauty doesn’t just belong next to a plate of eggs Benedict; it also belongs in your pint glass. 

Fans might know beer cocktails like the tomato-heavy Michelada or the lesser-known (but just as rad) Edna’s Lunchbox of Oklahoma City. But when Aperol meets Miller High Life or any lager beer, it becomes a Spaghett cocktail. The dominant tasting notes in Aperol are orange, bittersweet botanicals, herbs (namely rhubarb and gentian root), quinine, and smoky vanilla — all of which elevate the existing flavor profile of lager. 

This beer class goes down smooth and doesn’t have the funkiness, acidity, pungent nose, or hoppy bite of craft beers, while still bringing a structured body and dimensionality to the table. Miller High Life is traditional for Spaghetts (and for good reason, as it really does pair well with the Aperol), but any mild lager-style beer will work here, like Michelob Ultra, Coors Banquet, Lone Star, Beck’s, Stella Artois, or Yuengling. (Just, for the love of all that is holy, not Busch Light.)

You put the beer in the Aperol and shake it all up

Spaghett cocktail in bottle

The name of the game with Spaghetts is keepin’ it casual, and as such, this stripped-down sipper doesn’t even require any measuring to assemble. In fact, Spaghett is typically made right in the beer bottle. Simply pour out (or drink) about an inch of your lager, then slowly pour Aperol into the bottle until the mixture achieves a bold peach color. For a little something extra, top it off with a squirt of lemon juice. To infuse it more thoroughly, you could add the lemon Corona-style by forcing a wedge into the mouth of the bottle, plugging the opening with your thumb, inverting the bottle until the wedge “rises” to the bottom, then turning it upright and enjoying.

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No one’s precious about Spaghetts (which is kind of the point) — but, if we were measuring, it’d be 10 ounces of beer and 1 ounce of Aperol. These proportions can be helpful to keep in mind if you’re using canned beer, in which case you would be assembling your drink in a chilled tumbler glass instead of the bottle. This writer’s favorite tool for the job is Eliot Ness by Great Lakes Brewing Company based in Cleveland, Ohio, a sweet bready amber lager with a 6.1% ABV, which helps usher the Spaghett into cocktail zone.

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