ON A recent sunny weekend in Southern Austria, I spent an awful lot of time sitting around in pavement cafes, shady squares and cool, trendy bars.
Fascinated by a bright orange drink in a tall, stemmed wine glass, that everyone appeared to be consuming in great quantities, I decided to try one …… an Aperol Spritz.
Now, I love a Campari, which makes me rather strange I know. Campari is like Marmite to most of us. You either love it or hate it and I sit firmly in the camp of the former.
However, Aperol, is like the baby cousin of the bitter Italian queen. So much sweeter, fruitier and lighter, without the heavy accent and alcohol content. And I am hooked on her.
Originally produced by the Barbieri brothers in Padua, Italy, Aperol is now part of the Campari family. It’s made with typical amaro botanicals like bitter orange, gentian and cinchona, as well as rhubarb, the sour stalk that just screams summer.
With less than half the alcohol of its darker, more bitter kin, it’s perfect for all-day sipping and acts as a perfect mixer with stronger spirits.
Hugely popular throughout, Italy, Austria, Germany and Switzerland, Aperol is now getting a foothold into Spain and is widely available in Supermarkets.
Here are a few ways to try this Italian sweetheart this Summer:
You really don’t need more than a couple fingers of Aperol, a soda top and a lemon twist. But you can always embellish this simple cocktail with some fresh citrus juice and simple syrup or even make it as you would an Americano.
The ever-popular Italian aperitivo that you can still order in just about every bar in Italy is made with — one-and-a-half parts Aperol (instead of the traditional Campari) to one part sweet vermouth, topped with soda and garnished with an orange twist.
ON THE ROCKS:
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Aperol is perfectly tasty on its own, especially with an orange twist. Drink it outside — it’s such a pretty color in sunlight. Like an orange popsicle with a bittersweet bite.
Everyone will love Aperol’s low alcohol, but sometimes you want some kick to your cooler. And you can’t always wait all day to get the buzz off Aperol spritzers. With its odourless, flavorless profile, vodka is perfect for adding a little sauce to your sipper. You may be a lush …… but no one will ever know!
THE CLASSIC APEROL SPRITZ:
This is the classic afternoon and early evening drink I tried in Austria. Think of this one as a highball with an extra twinkle in its eye. Top a couple fingers of Aperol with bubbly instead of club soda. Prosecco is the natural sparkler for Aperol, but Cava will work just as well. Hell why not top it with Dom Perignon if you’re feeling flashy.
And serve it in a champagne flute with a strawberry sunk to the bottom. It’s the perfect way to feel sexy this summer.