This time of year has me pining for travel and adventure--especially now that school is almost at an end. It is as if the long weeks of grading papers have finally caught up with me and I can no longer sit still. I want to move, to be moved, to saturate myself in the bounty of life: art, food, music, laughing, loving.
And yet vacation is still a month away. So how do I cope? Easy! I bring the fun to me! One of the ways I do this is by recreating the wonderful foods and drinks I experienced during my own travels, especially to my travels in Italy, where people really know how to enjoy themselves.
One of my favorite evening cocktails is the Italian spritz, made with Aperol (a bitter orange liquor) and sparkling wine. I was introduced to this drink by my younger sister, an artist who lives in Florence, when I went to visit her and her writer husband last summer. There is nothing more refreshing than this bubbly orange drink after a day of museum viewing, city wandering, and food tasting. Of course, when traveling, you should eat (and drink) like the locals, so I was more than happy to try a local favorite cocktail for apertivo, or the Italian version of cocktail hour.
That said, back state side the drink could be a little too sweet for me, since I wasn't drinking right by the River Arno. Still, I love the idea of the spritz, so I decided to see if I could whip up a version that I could enjoy at home while dreaming of my Tuscan adventures. Typically the spritz is made with 2 parts Aperol, 3 parts sparkling wine, and one part sparkling water. I reduced the amount of Aperol and had my fellow spritz drinkers try it. Viola! We were left with a perfect drink. Feel free to try it the traditional way too, if you like sweeter drinks.
.75 oz (about 1/2 shot) Aperol
5 oz (about 3-4 shots) of a dry sparking white wine
1.5 oz (1 shot) sparkling water
Pour aperol into the bottom of a glass. Add sparkling wine and sparkling water. Add ice if desired--sometimes I put it in, sometimes I don't. Serves one (so double the recipe and invite another adventure seeking friend to join you!). Pairs well with a sunny, Tuscan attitude and a lovely patio garden.
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