There were many memorable culinary moments from my trip to Italy- heaping plates of fresh lasagna in Rome, shots of grappa in Volterra, fresh anchovies and sea bass in Monterossa, melt-in-your-mouth steaks in Florence, and incredible local wines from every region. However one of my favorite and least expensive meal time choices throughout all of Northern Italy was the Aperol Spritz. Perfect for sipping with light bites or as an aperitif, this wine-based cocktail is a favorite among locals and it's easy to understand why! Relatively low in alcohol with a very pleasant citrusy and slightly bitter taste, the Aperol Spritz is an incredibly refreshing and inexpensive (most bars and cafe's charged between 2-4 Euros per glass) option for drinking throughout the day. Even better, for the price of a drink, many bars will also give you small bowls of potato chips and peanuts to munch on while enjoying your cocktail!
In contemporary cocktail culture a "spritz" can be any combination of a white wine (sparkling or still), a bitter liquor and a splash of club soda. The exact recipe, proportion of ingredients and garnishes can vary from bar to bar and city to city but it's important when ordering a spritz to specify your preferred liquor, be it Aperol, Campari or Cynar. For us, the bright orange-red Aperol was our top choice. Combined with a chilled dry Prosecco- which gives the drink some nice acidity and bubbly goodness- and a splash of club soda, Aperol is a super drinkable liquor that's easy on the palate and pairs well with most foods. With the growing popularity of Aperol, Campari and Cynar, you should be able to find all of these bitter liquors at your local liquor store or wine shop. Whatever your liquor preference, I highly recommend you try this drink!!
makes 1 spritz. this drink also multiplies well and makes for a great last-minute pitcher drink
3 oz. chilled dry Prosecco
2 oz. Aperol (you can use Campari if you prefer)
a splash of soda water
1 orange slice
a handful of large ice cubes
(optional) 1 oz. of gin
- Fill a large white wine glass with larger ice cubes- the bigger the better for a slower dilution of the ice in the drink.
- Add the Aperol followed by the Prosecco. If you'd like to amp up the alcohol content of this refreshing drink, add an ounce of gin.
- Stir the drink once or twice to combine and finish off with a splash of club soda and a slice of orange.
- Enjoy with a light salty snack with friends or as an aperitif before dinner