You may have noticed it as become a little chilly of late. More than a little wet and fairly hard to be cheerful. September has certainly brought us back to earth with a bang; no more balmy weekend days or evenings on the park after work-autumn is on the march. But before we get too depressed about the impending gloom, I must recommend a brilliant way to combat any trace of potential winter blues and hang onto the very end of the summer by the tips of your fingers.
If you wander around any piazza or promenade in Italy in the summer, you will see endless amounts of people with a curious looking, bright orange drink. It is usually in a wine glass and clinking with ice. It looks like a kitch but emminently cool drink.
This is the Aperol Spritz and it is the cousin of the classic Campari. Aperol was created in Italy in 1919, but did not really take off in its native country until after the Second World War. In the UK is is still pretty much unknown. If you have ever tried Campari, the taste is very similar; it is quite complex with bitter-sweet and herbal notes and a wonderfully refreshing aftertaste. As an aperitif, it is perfect as it is low in alcohol (only 11%), but punchy in flavour; the bitterness is a great appetite sharpener.
Aperol Spritz is starting to become available in the UK in some trendy inner city bars. However, it is unlikely you will find it in your local pub, unless you happen to live in the middle of Shoreditch or Soho. It was impossible to find it in supermarkets until very recently, and now it is stocked at Waitrose and Sainsbury’s, as well as various online stockists. If you happen to go to Italy, I would recommend buying some to bring back, as it is about a third of the price.
A word of warning; this is not a drink which most people take to straightaway. The sharp and bitter edge is an acquired taste. Even so, I urge you to try this drink a few times before you make your mind up. I convinced myself I didn’t like it for years and now, it’s the thing I really look forward to on an summer’s evening. The taste really is unique; vibrant, sharp and bright. Also, who can resist a drink which looks as beautiful as the photo above. Salute!
3 parts Prosecco
2 parts Aperol
1 part soda water
Take a large wine glass, chilled if possible, and fill halfway with ice. Add the soda and Prosecco, then add the Aperol so it filters down though the drink. Stir with a mixer and add a slice of orange.