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If you’re toasting the long-awaited start of summer with a citrus-based aperitif , it’s worth knowing how cheaper supermarket own-brands measure up.
We asked 100 people to rate Aperol against citrus aperitifs from Aldi and Sainsbury’s in a blind taste test, and it was Aldi – the cheapest of the bunch – that came out on top.
It’s less than half the price of the real thing, too, meaning going big on summer celebrations doesn’t need to break the bank.
See below for the full results of our taste test, and tips on how to make the classic spritz.
Pimm’s No. 1 vs Aldi and Tesco Summer Cup – see how cheaper rivals measure up
Our taste test reveals that all three aperitifs are decent options for your spritz this summer, but Aldi’s Aperini has the edge, so there are savings to be made.
Aldi Aperini Aperitif – £6.99
- Preferred by: 40%
- Taste test score: 74%
Aldi’s Aperini was the top tipple for four in 10 of our tasters. It’s nearly neck and neck with the big brand on colour and aroma, with a punchy orange hue that’s going to look and smell the part in your glass.
Our tasters found that, of the three drinks, Aldi’s had the best balance between sweetness and bitterness, with a noticeable citrusy flavour that they didn’t find too overpowering.
Available from Aldi
Aperol – £15
- Preferred by: 32%
- Taste test score: 72%
There’s still plenty to enjoy if you go for the big brand. Our tasters loved its distinctive, vibrant colour, and it hit all the right notes on aroma and mouthfeel too.
It’s only slightly let down by the balance of flavour. Half of our tasters felt it wasn’t sweet enough, and even more thought the tartness tipped over to bitter.
Nevertheless, it was still the favourite of a third of our panel, so it wouldn’t be a bad choice for your bank holiday garden party. Just up the prosecco content if you want a sweeter cocktail.
While it is the priciest option, you’ll usually find it on offer somewhere for around £12, so it’s worth looking out for deals. There is also a larger 1-litre bottle version available.
Sainsbury’s Aperitivo – £8
- Preferred by: 28%
- Taste test score: 69%
There’s one major letdown if you go for Sainsbury’s offering – the appearance. You’ll have to cope with more of a peachy pale colour than the vibrant orange associated with sunshine-friendly Aperol.
Our testers liked the smell and flavour of this drink, although they found it tasted the most alcoholic of the three (it is 1% stronger), and some would have preferred it a little less bitter.
Available from Sainsbury’s.
All bottles are 70cl.
Aperol and Aldi are both 11% ABV (alcohol by volume) and Sainsbury’s is 12% ABV.
How to make an Aperol Spritz
The refreshing, zesty hit of an Aperol Spritz makes for a satisfying summer drink – perfect for hazy sunshine days.
According to Aperol, here’s how to make the perfect cocktail:
- Fill a wine glass with ice
- Pour in three parts of prosecco (9cl)
- Pour in two parts of Aperol (6cl)
- Add a splash of soda water (3cl)
- Garnish with an orange slice
What is soda water and is it essential?
Soda water is a sparkling, highly carbonated water with small amounts of sodium or potassium bicarbonate added. This gives it a slightly saltier taste than standard sparkling water, and makes it a good addition to cocktails.
If you can’t get hold of any, sparkling water is an acceptable substitute.
Other ways to drink Aperol
If you want a less sweet or less alcoholic drink, you can opt for equal parts Aperol and soda water, and hold the prosecco.
Sainsbury’s recommends enjoying its Aperitivo on the rocks – on its own in a tumbler with some ice – if you want to savour the bitter citrus flavours.
What snacks go with Aperol?
Aperitifs are usually a pre-dinner drink, whetting your appetite for the meal ahead.
However, these types of drinks pair well with food too. In Veneto, where Aperol originated, it’s usually served with ‘cicchetti’ – small dishes of tiny sandwiches, plates of olives and tapas-style local dishes.
Away from Italy’s trattorias, it would work just as well with a summer picnic, and you can often find Aperol Spritz’s on a brunch menu.
How we tested citrus-based aperitifs
We asked 100 people who enjoy this type of drink to try each brand’s offering in a blind taste test.
We served each aperitif with equal parts soda water to limit the alcohol content and allow the flavour of the drink to come through.
The panellists rated the taste, texture, aroma and appearance of each product and told us what they liked and disliked about each one.
The overall score is based on:
- 50% taste
- 20% aroma
- 20% appearance
- 10% mouthfeel
We tested own-label versions from Aldi and Sainsburys as they were the cheapest available supermarket aperitifs at the time of testing.
See all the food and drink we’ve tested for the results of our taste tests on all your favourite everyday items.
Prices correct as of 28 May 2021