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22 Jun 2022

Aperol vs Aldi vs M&S: which makes the best spritz?

We pitted Aperol against supermarket own-brand aperitifs in a blind taste test to find out
Glasses of Aperol spritz

Aperol has been making its iconic orange aperitif for more than 100 years, but can supermarket versions rival the original on taste and help you bag a bargain?

In this case, we found you're better off buying branded. Aperol came out on top when rated against M&S's Aperitivo and Aldi's cheaper Aperini.

All the citrus aperitifs were made up as an Aperol Spritz and blind-tasted by 100 Aperol Spritz fans in May 2022. They rated the flavour, aroma, appearance and mouthfeel of each one, and told us what they liked and disliked.


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Aperol vs supermarket own-brands: full results

Aperol won out in our 2022 test, but our tasters didn't find much to separate it from the M&S Aperitivo, so this is another good option.

You won't save any money (at full price) with M&S's Aperitivo, but it's a good alternative if you can't get hold of the real deal.

Aperol Aperitivo - £15 for 70cl

  • Overall score: 73%
Aperol Aperitivo

Aperol had the highest score in our taste test, beating both the supermarkets.

The majority of the panel loved the distinctive bright orange colour that's made it such a stalwart of sun-drenched patios, and it got high marks for both aroma and mouthfeel.

Most tasters found it had the perfect alcoholic kick, and a good level of sweetness, with several commenting on its 'well-balanced' and 'fruity' flavour. Some were a little less keen on the strong aftertaste though.

Available from IcelandMorrisonsSainsbury'sTesco and Waitrose.

M&S Aperitivo Orange Flavour Liqueur - £15 for 70cl

  • Overall score: 71%
M&S Aperitivo Orange Flavoured Liqueur

This drink is a good all-rounder, and a decent choice if you're struggling to find Aperol in the shops.

Although its flavour impressed overall, nearly half our testers felt this drink wasn't sweet enough and was a little too bitter, which might be the main giveaway that you're not drinking the classic brand. 

Otherwise, most of our panel thought the colour and the strength of alcohol flavour were about bang on.

Available from Ocado.

Aldi Aperini Aperitif - £7 for 70cl

  • Overall score: 63%
Aldi Aperini Aperitf

Aldi is often worth a look for a barbecue-season bargain (its pork sausages beat 11 other supermarket bangers in our sausage taste test) but it missed the mark somewhat with its orange aperitif. 

More than half our tasters wanted a more vibrant colour than the peachy orange in their cup, and they thought it didn't smell as appealing as the others either. 

More importantly, the flavour just didn't hit the high notes of M&S or Aperol. A few tasters found it less bitter than the other two - some people might prefer this, but for others the bitter citrus tang is a hallmark of a good spritz.

Available from Aldi.


Make your spritz extra special with our pick of the best prosecco and sparkling wines


How to make the perfect Aperol Spritz

Making Aperol spritz

The official recipe calls for:

  • Three parts Prosecco
  • Two parts Aperol
  • One part soda

Pour these into a large wine glass filled with ice and garnish with an orange slice. 

Alternatively, you can make your spritz with equal parts Aperol and prosecco if you like a more bitter taste. Aldi recommends leaving out the soda water for its Aperini Aperitif, and mixing it with crushed ice.

How strong is an Aperol Spritz? 

At 11% ABV, Aperol is on the lower end of alcohol content for a liqueur, but it's still worth being mindful of your mix if you're watching what you drink.

Adding a 12% prosecco to your spritz makes the drink around 1.5 units. You can lower this by changing up your recipe, using more soda water than prosecco.

It's worth bearing in mind which Aperol alternative you buy too. Whilst Aperol and Aldi's drinks are 11% ABV, M&S's Aperitivo is stronger at 15% - enough to up the units for a 25ml serving from 0.25 to 0.4. 

Where to buy cheap Aperol

People drinking aperol spritz

The typical supermarket price for Aperol is £15 for a 70cl bottle, but savvy shopping can help you bag a bottle for less.

Many supermarkets run deals on seasonal drinks such as Aperol and Pimm's at the slightest hint of a sunny weekend, but you'll have to be quick as they can sell out fast. 

You can usually pick it up for between £10-13 when on offer. Currently, it's cheapest at Asda and Sainsbury's where it's £12.


Pimms vs Asda vs Sainsburys - which is best?  See the results of our blind taste test, and tips for getting Pimm's for less


What kind of alcohol is Aperol?

Glasses of Aperol spritz

Aperol comes under the 'aperitif' family. These drinks were originally designed to be had before a meal to stimulate the appetite, though nowadays you'll find it on all sorts of menus, from your favourite brunch spot to a cocktail bar.

The makers of Aperol have kept the recipe a tightly guarded secret for over 100 years, but they have revealed that oranges (bitter and sweet varieties), rhubarb, herbs and roots are in the blend.

Aperol vs Campari: what's the difference?

It's easy to get the two confused - Campari is another Italian aperitif sold in a tall glass bottle (plus they're owned by the same company). However, they're very different drinks.

Campari is much more alcoholic (around 25% ABV compared to 11% for Aperol). This also makes it stronger and more bitter on the palette than Aperol.

 Its colour is just as distinctive, though Campari stands out for its deep brick red rather than the bright orange of Aperol.

You can directly swap out Aperol for Campari in your Prosecco spritz for a punchier drink, but Campari is probably better known for its starring role in a Negroni cocktail. To make a Negroni, pour equal parts Campari, gin and sweet vermouth in a glass filled with ice and garnish with (you guessed it) a slice of fresh orange.

How to recycle Aperol bottles

Glass bottles can usually go in your household recycling bin. If your council doesn’t accept them, you can take them to a local bottle bank.

The recycling process can vary depending on where you live, so make sure to check with your local area if bottles require rinsing first and whether metal screw caps should be replaced or recycled separately.