With New Years Eve on the horizon, December is famously recognized as a month dedicated to bubbly. As such, my column with Bar None Drinks should not fail to mention the completely apropos champagne cocktail.
However, my taste buds generally tend to shy away from the overtly sweet flavors of a glass of rose, or a Kir Royale, for example; I'm much more inclined to serving up a champagne cocktail with some bitter components to take off the edge. In order to fill that "bitter void" I desire, let's take a jump across that pond known as the Atlantic and turn to a traditional Italian cocktail. Among Italy's most popular and recognizable drinks is the Aperol Spritz.
Aperol is an Italian spirit whose fusion of orange peel and spices (the final blend remains a well-kept secret) has been a collective favorite among the locals since 1919. It's pretty easy to get hooked on Aperol; with its unmistakable balance of bitter and sweet flavorings and lower alcohol content, this Italian aperitivo is remarkably unique and versatile in cocktails. My boss, for instance, has quite the affinity toward Aperol. He's officially gone on the (blog) record having said that a popular variation of the Negroni (equal parts Aperol, Gin, and Sweet Vermouth) is his most desired cocktail - just don't forget the orange slice!
Of a more relevant note, there aren't many drinks simpler to stir up for your holiday festivities than the Aperol Spritz, pronounced "spriss" in Venizia. Aside from the named spirit, the recipe also calls for one part Prosecco, a dry sparkling Italian wine and varietal name produced in the region just north of Venice (I hope all the Italian references by now have given way to my attempt at a kitschy title...). Prosecco's classic cocktail claim to fame is the Bellini, created at Harry's Bar in Venice which features peach puree, Prosecco and served in a Champagne flute. Prosecco is one of the fastest growing new wine varietals, largely because consumers have found its reasonable price (usually $11-15) and natural food pairing affinity makes it an easy choice.
But back to the Spirtz. After adding in the Aperol and prosecco to an ice-filled Old Fashioned or rocks glass, the drink is topped with soda water and - of course- garnished with an orange slice. The Aperol Spritz truly is a refreshing and fizzy drink deserving of a Salute to ring in a new year!Aperol Spritz
Add prosecco, then Aperol, then soda and serve chilled over ice and a slice of orange.
Wishing you a very Happy Holiday Season!