I’ve had a love for all things Italian for a long as I can remember. It’s my favourite country to visit. The history, architecture, beaches, city life, food and drinks; it just can’t be beat.
There’s no drink, in my opinion, that has as strong a claim to being “Italy’s drink” as an Aperol Spritz. The cocktail is built around Aperol—a semi-sweet, slightly bitter aperitif from northern Italy.
The herby orange-red liqueur was invented by the Barbieri brothers in Padova, Italy in 1919 and was originally designed as a health and diet drink. The recipe, as those for bitters and liqueurs tend to be, is secret, but includes bitter and sweet oranges, rhubarb and gentian.
When the Austrians controlled the Veneto after the Napoleonic wars, they took the local Italian wine and added a splash, or in German, a “spritz,” of water. Over time the water was replaced with sparkling water and the still wine was turned into wine fortified with a liqueur. It wasn’t too long before the liqueur of choice became what we today call Aperol. It gained popularity all over Italy during 1920s to 1930s and it was marketed as a drink for women and people with an active lifestyle.
There are many kinds of Spritzes, but the Aperol Spritz is probably the most popular cocktail in Italy. Along with the more bitter-tasting Campari, Aperol is also one of the most successful Italian liquors overseas.
The spritz has become synonymous with the Italian tradition of the Aperitivo, a drinking occasion associated with the transition between work and play at the end of the business day.
The Campari Group purchased Aperol in 2003 and embarked on a huge advertising and marketing campaign that positioned the Aperol Spritz as a drink for the creatives, the fashionable and the successful. Today it is one of the most popular drinks around the world.
Today my girlfriend Holly and I have put together a recipe for a classic Aperol Spritz for you. It’s the perfect drink to enjoy these dog days of summer with.
Classic Aperol Spritz Recipe
Yields 1 drink You’ll Need:
- 3 parts Prosseco (we used La Marca)
- 2 parts Aperol
- 1 part soda water
- Orange slice, to garnish
DirectionsMix all ingredients in a wine glass with ice and gently stir. Garnish with an orange slice.
If you’d like it ‘Venetian-style,’ add a green olive as an additional garnish.