Monday, June 27, 2011

Aperol Spritz

Picture this: You're in an old piazza in Northern Italy. The sun is shining and a gentle breeze is blowing... stirring the air slightly but not disrupting the scene. Waves of beautiful people move through the piazza and their conversations twirl around you like ribbons, dancing over your skin and fading into the distance. Your companion approaches the bar and points at a striking and vibrantly orange-hued beverage spotted in the hand of one of those beautiful people. "Two, please."

As romantic and ridiculously dramatic as that scene may seem to you, it felt just that romantic and ridiculously dramatic to me when I was in Italy last... though instead of two, the order was somewhere in the forties. hahah. We had a wonderful group together to celebrate the wedding of a fantastic couple (and very dear friend of mine).

This was our spritz after a long day of moving... 
no ice, couldn't find the oranges,
but we managed to chill the Prosecco.
It was divine.

Making these spritzes at home was one way to transport myself back to those special days in Northern Italy and -in particular- Verona, without the costly airline ticket. And with the long overdue (enter: cheers of "finally!") arrival of summer, I can think of no better way to celebrate it than with a spritz!

~1 to 2 parts Aperol (depending on your preference...)
3 parts Prosecco
Splash of soda water
Slice of orange

Using a wine or rocks glass, pour your 1 to 2 parts of Aperol over ice, top up with your 3 parts of Prosecco. Add a splash of soda or sparkling water. Garnish with a slice of orange (and a green olive, if you are feeling very Italian). Swirl and enjoy!

I've been substituting Campari for Aperol since Verona because I haven't managed to get my hands on a sweet bottle of Aperol. Both Campari and Aperol are Italian aperitifs or bitters, which have -just that- a slightly bitter flavour stemming from the herbs and other ingredients that make up their key ingredient list. Aperol has a slightly higher sugar content and less alcohol, which made it my preference over the Campari... less chance of a pesky headache cropping up because I drank my spritz too quickly in the warm sun. But some palates prefer the Campari with its bitter nuanced flavour. Let yours choose!

All that said, I can finally set the Campari aside (and save it for Negronis) because I have gotten my hot little hands on a bottle of Aperol!!

The great folks at Baseline Wines in Sherwood Park are going to be carrying Aperol as of next week, with their first big shipment slated to arrive on Tuesday (I feel like you should be lining up old-school-concert-ticket-line-up-like in anticipation). hahah.

Che Bechard, owner and voice of Baseline Wine on Twitter, had this to say on prosecco...
In the last year, roughly, new rules have been instated regarding vintages dubbing themselves as "prosecco." Similar to Champagne and the limitation on the use of the name "Champagne" in application to wines produced in the Champagne region of France, Prosecco is now "protected as a DOC within Italy." This means that in order to be called "Prosecco," the wine must be produced within specific regions and using specific methods. If not, similar to Champagne, it would have to go by "sparkling wine" or another defining name.

Che recommends, with any wines, that you stick with your regions. The wine should have a "regional affinity" to whatever you are pairing it with... drink an Italian wine with your Italian foods, French with French, and so on...

Best Value:
Pasqua Prosecco - $14.99

Best "Splurges":
Nino Franco Rustico Prosecco - $22.99
Val D'Oca Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore - $24.99

I'm quite terrible at finding the words to describe wine... I usually operate at two levels in that regard:
1. "Oooooooo... I like this."
2. "Uhhhh... this tastes like headache."

Prosecco should be fruity and crispy. It has a bright aroma... that gets me excited about that first sip. The bubbles dance around your tongue. Prosecco tastes like "ooooooo... I like this" to me. I always want a second glass or cocktail. hahah. How's that for descriptive?!

So, whether you want to enjoy a glass of Prosecco or a pre-dinner spritz, both a bottle of Prosecco and one of Aperol would be a nice addition to your liquor cabinet or wine fridge.

Visit the locally owned gem, Baseline Wine, at 210, 222 Baseline Road, Sherwood Park or on the web at to get your bottle of Aperol and your bottle of Prosecco. Don't forget the wonderful world of Twitter either - @Baseline_Wine!

2 thought(s):

Anonymous said...

Great post C!
Loved how you toasted your new home and I am going to pick up my own Aperol tomorrow

Anonymous said...

i had them in Europe about a month ago...Germany and Austria actually. It was definitely the "it" drink there!

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