It has recently come to my attention that summer has reached its dog days. Labor Day Weekend has now come and went… and frankly, it’s searingly hot. Rather than caterwaul its ado, may I suggest an elixir that would keep you as cool as the other side of the pillow?
Enter the Aperol Spritz, recently considered by my good friends over at the NY Times. My new friend Marissa, fellow writer and lover of quality food and beverage, and I, recently sung the cocktail’s praises, over a round, at Osteria Drago last week. The drink was then poured at the Four Seasons hotel pool with my NYC bestie Philip, followed up by another at our casa, another at Madeo (they make a fine one with a highball and crushed ice!) that night, and once more last night with a homemade club sandwich for dinner.
Not at all diametrically opposed to the Camparis and Cynars of this world, Aperol is a slightly bitter Italian aperitif made with bitter orange, gentian, rhubarb and cinchona. It’s red in color, and has a gorgeous label, just like Campari, though its alcohol content is 11% - less than half of Campari.
Born in Venice in 1920, local legend has it that Hapsberg soldiers would water down the strong local wine with a squirt (spritzen) of sparkling water.
Bitter spirits pair best with sweetness (think Campari and orange juice), and champagne is the ultimate match for Aperol.
Without further ado, the recipe for an Aperol Spritz:
3 parts Prosecco (or any champagne, cava or sparkling wine)
2 parts Aperol
1 splash of soda or seltzer
Ice, half a slice of orange
Serve up or on the rocks.
Fine places to order a Spritz: Cipriani restaurants, Brooklyn’s Clover Club and just about any Italian restaurant.
It’s also the perfect, easy, breezy treat for a guest just dropping by this time of year.
Oh, and my new cocktail comrade stirred this one into the swizzle: apparently, there’s bourbon-spiked rendition they serve at Terroni in WeHo, a haunt we’ll surely be checking out soon. Stay tuned.
(An advertising experiment currently running in several European airports - awfully clever!)