Aperol Spritz Alternatives – are cheap dupes just as good?

Written by money (and Aperol Spritz) expert, Sam McFaul

A summer holiday to a far-flung land is looking increasingly unlikely this year. But that doesn’t mean you need to deny yourself one of life’s great pleasures: sipping on a spritz.

While you might have to trade that sun-kissed Mediterranean cafe for your sofa or the beach for your balcony, close your eyes and you can pretend you’re abroad.

A spritz is any kind of usually fizzy wine-based cocktail, and it doesn’t have to be alcoholic, but probably the most famous, and definitely the one that has taken the UK by storm is the orange-flavoured Aperol spritz.

A classic Aperol Spritz from a bar or restaurant contains equal-parts prosecco and Aperol, ice, a slice of orange and is topped up with soda water. 

It’s super easy (and cheaper) to make at home although I usually give the soda water a miss though for a stronger flavour!

I love the drink, so much that I’ve even tried some of the supermarket knock-off versions of Aperol to see if they compare.

Aperol Spritz Alternatives

Here, I’ve rounded up the rivals I’ve tried and compared on taste and price.

Aperol

OK, I’m going to be frank. It’s the classic and if you can buy it on offer, it’s probably the best.

The taste is definitely acquired, but you wouldn’t still be reading if you didn’t like it. It’s a slightly sweet, slightly bitter, orange flavour, with a reddish-amber colour that turns Irn-Bru orange when it’s diluted with prosecco.

Lidl’s Bitterol

As you probably know, both Lidl and Aldi are big fans of selling brand-name dupes. But unfortunately, this Lidl knock-off doesn’t quite live up to the mark.

It’s not always in stock, but when it is, it’s usually sold for £8ish. That’s a decent price until you consider that in Lidls in Italy (home of course to Aperol), it’s usually just £3ish for a full-size bottle!

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If the £8 price tag is still tempting, let me tell you about its taste. The clue is in the name – it’s much more bitter than Aperol and tastes almost like a cross between Campari (another Italian aperitif that’s used in negronis) and Aperol.

The colour is much redder too, even when diluted in a spritz. I’m not a fan, but if you prefer a more bitter taste, it might work for you.

Sainsbury’s Aperitivo

With a classier bottle and label (I think even than Aperol’s own), Sainsbury’s version certainly looks the part.

It was created for the supermarket by big Italian wine and vermouth producer, Giacomo Sperone, so it also has the credentials. And like Lidl’s own brand, its price is right too: at around £8.

But I found it doesn’t quite taste like Aperol. Its flavour is more savoury and herby although the colour is pretty much spot on. 

However, I really like it in a spritz and it gets a thumbs up from me, despite not being a true replica of that Aperol taste.

If lockdown ever ends, Sainsbury’s also sells a ‘tinny’ version, creatively named ‘Beviamo Italian Spritz’ which when translated means ‘Let’s Drink Italian Spritz’!

M&S Aperitivo Spritzer

When it comes to ‘tinnies’, they’re not just tinnies unless they’re M&S tinnies.

Yes, I know they can be spenny, but until M&S brings out a full-size version of its ‘Aperitivo’ you’ll have to make do.

They taste pretty much like an Aperol spritz, or at least as far as a premade tinned drink can.

But at £2ish for a 250ml can (sometimes there are offers for three tins for £5) they are an expensive option.

If you’re desperate to try, some M&S food stores (usually at petrol stations) are on Deliveroo.

Carrefour 

Now this one’s a bit of a cheat unless you can easily hop across the Channel to France (or Europe) as Carrefour doesn’t have supermarkets in the UK.

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But, it’s worth a mention because I think it’s the own-brand version that tastes most like Aperol.

And while you might not be able to try it in the UK until lockdown is lifted and you can go on a booze cruise to Calais, Carrefour is a massive supermarket chain with shops all over Europe.

So on your next foreign holiday, if you’re going self-catering, consider buying a bottle of Carrefour’s finest ‘aperitif’ and prosecco to make your own.

Other brands

The only own-brand version I’m aware of that I’ve not yet tried is Aldi’s ‘Aperini’ which typically costs £7. 

As far as I can see Tesco, Asda and Morrison’s don’t sell their own versions, but let me know if I’m wrong!


Have you tried any other own-brand versions I’ve missed? Let me know what you thought of them in the comments below

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