Sweetheart Cocktail Recipe

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Sweetheart Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 16, 2024


The Sweetheart cocktail is a modern concoction that's perfect for romantic occasions or simply when you're in the mood for something sweet and refreshing. It's a hit among those who enjoy a balance of citrus and berry flavors, with a touch of bitterness from the Aperol to keep things interesting.

  • Who Would Like It: Ideal for vodka enthusiasts and those who appreciate a cocktail with a complex flavor profile.
  • Occasions: Perfect for Valentine's Day, anniversaries, or any celebration of love.

How Sweetheart Tastes?

The Sweetheart cocktail offers a delightful mix of sweet and tart flavors, with the cranberry and lemon providing a zesty punch. The Aperol adds a slightly bitter and herbal undertone, while the limoncello and vodka give it a strong, yet smooth kick.

Interesting facts about Sweetheart

  • The Sweetheart cocktail is versatile and can be adapted for different seasons by using seasonal berries.
  • Despite its sweetness, it has a relatively low alcohol content, making it a great option for a light drink.
  • It's often associated with celebrations of love, hence the name 'Sweetheart'.


  • Ice cubes: As needed
  • Absolut vodka: 2 oz(60ml)
  • Aperol: 2 oz(60ml)
  • Cranberry juice: 2 oz(60ml)
  • Limoncello: 0.5 oz(15ml)
  • Lemon juice: 0.5 oz(15ml)
  • Cranberries: 3 whole

A few good options for Sweetheart are:

  • Grey Goose
  • Belvedere
  • Khor
  • Smirnoff

Learn everything on which Vodka to choose

Ice Cubes

  • Used as the foundation for chilling the drink, ice cubes help mellow the flavors and provide a cold, refreshing cocktail experience. Without them, your drink will be room temperature and lack that crisp bite.

Mary Mitkina

Absolut Vodka

  • This is the strong, silent type in our cocktail; Absolut Vodka brings the kick without overpowering the other flavors. Ideal for keeping the cocktail's profile balanced - too much would overshadow, too little and you'd lack depth.

Emma Rose


  • Aperol adds a gentle bitterness and complexity, giving the drink its unique color and a herbal hint. Leaving it out would make for a sweeter, less complex beverage. If you're out of Aperol, Campari could pinch hit, but it’s a bit more bitter.

Alex Green

Cranberry Juice

  • Adds a tart edge and a beautiful red hue. Skimping on the cranberry would result in a less vibrant color and a flatter taste profile. It's also a nod to the 'sweetheart' element.

Mary Mitkina


  • This adds a zesty lemon kick which, in moderation, brightens the mix. Too much could overshadow the other ingredients with its sweetness, but if omitted, you'd miss that sunny burst of citrus.

Emma Rose

Lemon Juice

  • Provides a fresh, acidic lift that cuts through the sweetness and perks up the palate. If substituted with lime juice, you’d have a slightly more tropical twist.

Alex Green


  • The perfect garnish that nods to the cranberry juice within the drink, adding a pop of color and a hint of festive cheer.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Sweetheart Drink

  1. Fill a shaker with ice cubes.
  2. Add 2 oz of Absolut Vodka, 2 oz of Aperol, 2 oz of cranberry juice, 0.5 oz of limoncello, and 0.5 oz of lemon juice to the shaker.
  3. Shake well until the mixture is chilled.
  4. Strain the mixture into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice cubes.
  5. Garnish with three whole cranberries.

Pro Tips

  • Chill the rocks glass before serving to keep the cocktail colder for longer.
  • If you prefer a sweeter drink, adjust the limoncello to taste.
  • Use fresh cranberry juice for the best flavor profile.

Perfect Pairings


  • Cheese platters: A selection of cheeses, especially those with a bit of tanginess or creaminess, would complement the slight bitterness of the Aperol and the tartness of the lemon and cranberry.
  • Seafood: Light seafood dishes, such as shrimp cocktail or ceviche, could pair nicely, as the cocktail's citrus notes would enhance these flavors.
  • Finger Foods: Mini bruschetta or crostini topped with ricotta and herbs can be a delightful match.


  • Lemon Sorbet: The zesty lemon sorbet would echo the citrus profile of the cocktail while providing a refreshing follow-up.
  • Dark Chocolate: A piece of dark chocolate could balance the sweetness and highlight the cranberry’s fruity elements in the drink.

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What you could change in Sweetheart

  • Vodka: You can use any premium vodka if Absolut is not available.
  • Aperol: Campari can be used as a substitute, though it will be slightly more bitter.
  • Cranberry Juice: Pomegranate juice can be a good alternative for a different twist.

Explore all drinks starting with S here

And of course - twists🍹

Berry Lovers' Bliss

  • Substitute cranberry juice with mixed berry juice for a more complex berry profile. Rim the glass with sugar for an extra sweet touch. This twist will offer a more rounded berry flavor, making every sip a little more romantic.

Sparkling Sweetheart

  • Add a splash of prosecco to your shaker before straining into the glass. This bubbly addition will elevate the drink to a celebratory level, with a tickle on the tongue and a festive fizz in the finish.

Citrus Twist

  • Replace limoncello with orange liqueur and garnish with a twist of orange peel. This modification brings a different citrus dimension, with a sweeter note and a fragrance that'll remind you of sunshine and summer love.

In case you forgot basics how to make Sweetheart

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Sweetheart

How do I know when the cocktail is properly chilled?

You'll know the cocktail is chilled enough once the shaker feels very cold to the touch, usually after shaking vigorously for about 15-20 seconds.

What type of glass is best suited for the Sweetheart cocktail?

A rocks glass is traditionally used for the Sweetheart cocktail, but you can also serve it in a coupe or martini glass for a more elegant presentation.

Can I make this cocktail in a batch for a party?

Yes, you can scale up the recipe and mix it in a large pitcher or bowl. Remember to add ice just before serving to avoid diluting the mixture too much.

Is there a non-alcoholic version of the Sweetheart cocktail?

For a non-alcoholic version, replace the vodka and Aperol with non-alcoholic spirits or an extra splash of cranberry and lemon juice, adjusting the sweetness as needed.

What is the origin of the name Aperol?

Aperol is an Italian aperitif that got its name from the French slang word for aperitif, which is 'aperò', indicating its use as a pre-meal drink to stimulate the appetite.

How can I properly garnish the cocktail?

Thread the whole cranberries onto a cocktail skewer or pick, and rest it across the rim of the glass for a classy and festive touch.

Are there any specific techniques for shaking cocktails?

To shake a cocktail effectively, use a firm two-handed grip and a vigorous back and forth motion, similar to how one would use a sports drink bottle, to fully integrate and chill the ingredients.

What's the difference between using fresh juice and bottled juice in cocktails?

Fresh juice typically has a brighter, more vibrant flavor compared to bottled juice, which can contain preservatives and added sugars.

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