- Chuck and Megan Marra
Our Drink of Summer (2021)
Well the votes are in. Megan and I are the only ones who voted, but it still counts.
We have had a lot of terrific wine and beer this summer. But this year our summer cocktail has been the Aperol Spritz. Maybe it was that during this whole Covid 19 crisis, it just harkened back to a more romantic time. Maybe it really was the color of California sunsets this year, but this year we kicked off many weekends on our deck with a big wineglass full of an Aperol Spritz.
We rediscovered it on a Vegas trip in May with my brother.
It was being featured at Eataly, a piazza or marcato in what used to be the Monte Carlo and is now The Park MGM, Las Vegas which they have redecorated the hotel lobby to feel like an open-air market in Italy.
We were just attracted to its bright orange-sunset color. It just seemed like a good happy, celebration drink, so we ordered two Aperol Spritz and sat at a cafe table by the street just off Las Vegas Boulevard.
This may come as no surprise to many, but ....
Come to find out, Aperol seems to be a very popular drink in northern Italy. Which, to my mind makes it an even more appropriate drink for Alfisti.
There is a lot that I did not know about Aperol.
Aperol is an Apero, which is Italian for 'Bitters". it comes from a slang word for aperativo, which is apero.It's made from gentian, rhubarb, and cinchona not that any of that is important unless you're allergic to any of these ingredients.
Aperol has been a popular drink in Venice and Milan and in Padua where it was made in 1919 by Luigi and Barbierei. In my imagination, I see Marcello Mastroianni and Giancarlo Gianinni sipping these in some cafe in Milan.
Aperol is now a part of the Compari company. Aperol is sweeter than Compare and, at 23 Proof (11.5%) has about half the alcohol. It's most famously served as a spritz, and used as an aperitif, to start the party going. It has a relatively low alcohol content and is then mixed with sparkling water. We've put the classic recipe below.
Even though it was first made just after World War 1, its heyday wasn't actually till after World War 2. Now, it's everywhere it seems, from big Las Vegas Hotels to small cafe's in Santa Barbara to the food columns and controversial editorial pages of the New York Times and Washington Post.
The point is that for us, in these crazy times, we found grateful for every moment given to us, whether it's the chance to have long conversations with friends at first over Zoom (and now finally in person), or short sunset drives in the Alfa with the top down, our new motto is to "Celebrate Everything!", and a $25 bottle of Aperol (with splashes of prosecco and sparkling water and lots of ice), it's one of the inexpensive luxuries of the summer of 2021.
To anything and everything we have to celebrate. Cheers.
The Aperol Spritz - The Classic Recipe
Okay, so the spritz is a popular drink in no Veneto Italy but The idea of a spritz is German, when from 1805 to 1866 Austria occupied what is now Lombardy and Veneto (Venice and Milan).
so it's apparently a 3 -2-1 rule to make it:
3 ounces of prosecco
2 ounces of Aperol
1 ounce of Soda water
If it is too sweet for you, adjust the ratio of Aperol and sparkling water or use a drier prosecco. The important thing is to get the proportions correct, or relatively correct and have friends over.
Illustrations by Lucas Marra