You’ve heard of Aperol, Campari and Cachaça, but do you know what they actually are? If not, you aren’t alone. These summer spirits are often found in the season’s most popular poolside drinks, so read up on them so you can drop some knowledge the next time you belly up to the bar.
Aperol This Italian aperitif combines gentian, rhubarb and cinchona, plus a secret blend of herbs. Its deep and bright orange hue adds a pop of color to a boring cocktail, and the bitter, citrus flavor provides complexity. In the summertime, the Aperol Spritz is a perfect go-to cocktail—sweet (but not too sweet), bubbly and effervescent. Plus, it tends to be lower in alcohol, which means you can sip it all day long. All you need is Prosecco, club soda, ice, an orange and, of course, Aperol.
Campari Think of this Italian aperitif as Aperol’s more-refined cousin. Campari tastes extra bitter because of the sour Chinotto orange, and it’s most commonly known for its use in Negronis and the tiki bar classic Jungle Bird. Created in 1978, that pleasant pheasant uses rum, Campari, lime juice, simple syrup and pineapple juice for a sweet and bitter tropical ’tail.
Cachaça Regarded as Brazil’s version of rum—made from distilled sugarcane juice—this is the primary spirit in the country’s popular Caipirinha and Batida cocktails. Bryant Jane of local rum bar Starboard Tack serves up a take on the latter called the Batida Alexander ($12). Jane mixes cinnamon-infused cachaça, heavy cream, Rumchata, crème de cacao, walnut bitters and a Meletti amaro rinse for a creamy, chocolatey drink that’s dessert in a glass.