Let’s go groovy classic. Like, supergroovy-classic. Like, let’s pretend we’re sitting at an outdoor table at a little taverna in Rome, watching sleek locals zip past on Vespas as we unwind after the work week level of classic. That cocktail? Is the Aperol spritz.
The Aperol spritz is made of exactly three ingredients (four if you count the garnish), so choose them well. Aperol is, of course, non-negotiable. It’s the orangey-herbal-bitter aperitif with a spectacular orange hue that turns the spritz into a glass of summer. The mixer in the spritz is primarily Prosecco, and this is where the cocktail can go off-course. We often think that if we’re mixing drinks, individual flavors won’t matter so you can just use whatever. I’m guilty of that too and don’t order top-shelf margaritas for that reason…but the sour mix in any given margarita matters greatly. The mixer is the thing that comprises at least half your drink; of course its flavor profile is important.
Proseccos, even when they’re brut, are fruity and can come off as marginally sweet. This is a desirable component of Prosecco, and in the spritz that quality helps balance Aperol’s inherently bitter flavor profile. Cheap Proseccos can be less brut and more sweet, and this is what can throw the taste of your spritz off, taking it from “refreshing interesting beverage” to “why do I feel like I’m drinking a children’s aspirin?” Look for a Prosecco that delivers the fruity-but-dry flavor. You don’t have to get all oenophile-crazy and look for one with a long nose, since you’ll also be enjoying the nose from the Aperol. In a spritz, it’s the Prosecco’s fruit/dry balance that matters.
The other ingredient (besides the garnish) is club soda. I’ll leave that to you.
Anyway, on to the cocktail. Here’s what you need:
- 2 oz Aperol
- 3 oz Prosecco
- 1 oz club soda
- Orange slice to garnish
- Serve in a large snifter or wine glass
Fill your serving glass with ice. Pour in Aperol and Prosecco, and top with club soda. Stir gently, so as to not break too many of the bubbles in the Prosecco. Don’t skip the stir; Aperol is more dense than Prosecco and they won’t mix in the glass without a little help. Add the orange slice to garnish and kick back and enjoy your summer.
Ooh, makes me want to have one right now. I mean, it’s 5:00 somewhere, right? Maybe in Italy?