The Grape Gatsby: A Champagne and Aperol Cocktail

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Meet The Grape Gatsby, an incredibly happy-making craft cocktail with Aperol and champagne created by Lukas Bernleithner for the rooftop bar Der Dachboden (The Loft) at 25hours Hotel in Vienna. We couldn’t love this drink more if we tried. See all our cocktails here.

an aperol cocktail in a coupe glass garnished with a grapefruit twist on a light background

Why we love this Champagne and Aperol cocktail

I’ll be honest: the first reason I love The Grape Gatsby is because it takes me back to the moment below, from my April, 2019 trip to Vienna.

holding a cocktail on a roof deck overlooking the museum quarter of vienna, austria

That’s a pretty advantageous start. But there are so many reasons to love this cocktail that I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since that night.

With its base of Aperol and sparkling wine, this jewel-toned drink is in some ways just a sophisticated riff on the Aperol Spritz. But it’s layered and complex enough that it took me a while to notice that fact, as well as the fact that it doesn’t include a base liquor.

Verjus and grapefruit juice come together to offer a super well-rounded tartness, while sweet vermouth and grapefruit bitters add a multifaceted, gentle sweetness and bitterness.

And then, of course, there’s the name. Even on a menu full of fabulous cocktail names, The Grape Gatsby caught my eye right away. The name made me want to want this cocktail, so I crossed my fingers for luck before reading through the list of ingredients.

It totally worked.

cocktail menu from 25h hotel vienna austria

I eventually reached out to Lukas Bernleithner, the bartender who created the drink for the rooftop bar Der Dachboden at the 25hours Hotel in Vienna’s Museum Quarter. He generously agreed to let me publish it.

steps to make a cocktail

Ingredients for The Grape Gatsby

Here’s what you’ll need to make this cocktail:

  • Aperol
  • Red vermouth. Lukas uses Martini rosso, and we use Carpano Antica.
  • Verjus. See the section below to learn more, or substitute fresh lime juice in a pinch.
  • Freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • Grapefruit bitters. Lukas and I both use Fee Brothers.
  • Champagne, prosecco, or another of your favorite dry sparkling wines
  • A grapefruit twist to garnish
steps to make a cocktail

How to make The Grape Gatsby

Here’s how to make this Champagne and Aperol cocktail. You can see all the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post.

  • Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice.
  • Pour in the Aperol, vermouth, verjus, grapefruit juice, and grapefruit bitters.
  • Shake very well, until the outside of the shaker is very cold, and strain into a coupe glass. (Technically you should double-strain this cocktail, meaning that in addition to the shaker’s strainer, you should hold a fine-mesh sieve like the one in the video over the glass whilst pouring. I find I never have enough hands to do this, which is why I strain the grapefruit juice on its own before pouring it into the shaker.)
  • Top with Champagne.
  • Garnish with a grapefruit twist and serve.
steps to make a cocktail

What is verjus?

Verjus (from vert jus, or green juice), is the pressed juice of unripened grapes. When winemakers thin out their vines as crops begin to ripen, they can use those culled grapes to make this culinary treasure.

Verjus is sour, sweet, and complex-tasting, like a softer, milder version of vinegar. In addition to adding depth to cocktails like this one it has a multitude of uses in the kitchen, from deglazing a pan to enrich a sauce, to subbing in for vinegar in salad dressings. Verjus comes in red and white varieties. We’ve used white here, but either will work.

Verjus is not fermented, and it’s nonalcoholic.

Closeup of The Grape Gatsby Craft Cocktail Recipe

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The Grape Gatsby

The Grape Gatsby is an incredibly happy-making craft cocktail with Aperol and champagne created by Lukas Bernleithner for the rooftop bar Der Dachboden (The Loft) at 25hours Hotel in Vienna.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 50 ml (1 3/4 ounces) Aperol
  • 20 ml (3/4 ounce) red vermouth
  • 20 ml (3/4 ounce) verjus (see note below)
  • 40 ml (1 1/2 ounces) fresh grapefruit juice
  • 3 dashes grapefruit bitters
  • Champagne or other sparkling wine, to top
  • Long grapefruit twist, to garnish

Directions

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice.
  2. Pour in Aperol, vermouth, verjus, grapefruit juice, and grapefruit bitters.
  3. Shake very well and strain into a coupe glass.
  4. Top with Champagne.
  5. Garnish with a grapefruit twist and serve.

Notes

If you can't get your hands on a bottle of verjus, you can substitute freshly squeezed lime juice in a pinch.

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving:

Calories:: 200

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