Food

Aperol: Sweet dreams are made of this

Aperol: Sweet dreams are made of this

Hello sundown! It’s time to try the “Ap” that lets you cross over from work to play in an instant. We’re talking Aperol Spritz, Italy’s number one cocktail that’s taken the world by storm.

What makes this tangy orange and bittersweet (actually, make that sweet-bitter) drink so special is a unique and indefinable taste that’s unbelievably refreshing.  Add to that its low alcohol by volume content (just 11%) and that it’s a brilliant base for so many cocktails, suited to so many occasions.  That’s especially where antipasti (aka hors d’oeuvres) are involved, like bruschetta with cured meat, salame, olives, roasted nuts and other snacks. And, it’s also superb with brunch.

But back to Aperol Spritz. Nothing could be simpler to conjure up.  You need three parts Prosecco (or your favourite dry bubbly), two parts Aperol and one part soda.  Pour into an ice-filled glass and garnish with a slice of orange. That’s all it takes to flip the switch from then to now.

It was nearly a century ago that two super-smart Italian bro’s from Padua conjured up their secret aperitivo recipe, a drink that begs to be enjoyed with antipasti.  Tingling with orange zest, herbal scents, notes of wood and a whisper of vanilla, its seductive and beguiling taste wowed the world. And nothing’s changed. Not the way the Barbieris made it back in 1919, nor its unbelievable popularity.

The intriguingly hard-to-pin-down flavour is the result of infusions of bitter and sweet oranges, rhubarb and a host of herbs and roots. Sweet but not too sweet, bitter but just the teensiest bit, it’s also complex (in the best way).

Across Italy, from Bergamo to Palermo and everywhere in between you’ll hear on everyone’s lips: “Fai la mia Aperol” (“Make mine an Aperol”). Travellers to the country encounter it on piazze, bars, restaurants and clubs and take their love of it straight back home. That’s how it has come to be a top seller worldwide.

Aperol Spritz may be the brand’s signature cocktail, but there are loads of other options to try. Aperol Classico combines the orange apertivo with soda, while Aperol Sour dials up the tang with fresh lemon juice and a dash of syrup. It’s also terrific with vodka, with gin and with vermouth.   Get out there and start playing.

Find Aperol at all major retailers for around R199 a bottle. For more information and recipes go to www.aperol.com.

Salute!

 

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