Italians have their own rhythm and we love it. Could we do it all the time? Maybe not, but certainly I appreciate and embrace it when I get a golden chance to visit Italy.
One thing that I had to get accustomed to when traveling between April and August up and down the peninsula is that the evening meal is much later than I am accustomed to. Chef and I lamented this lull in time when we first arrived but when we put out our own meal at a more traditional American time, we realized that without central air, it was simply too hot and unsettled to start the evening meal.
Once we were able to expect this later meal time we made the extra time into a positive thing by taking happy hour at the local bar, or even the balcony of the apartment. What does one drink when the etruscan sun is beating you down?
This delightfully fizzy concoction of bitter Aperol, dry Prosecco, club soda and orange slice is one of my all time favorite cocktails.
What is Aperol?
Aperol was created in 1919 but did not really catch on until after World War II. It has a similar appearance, scent and initial taste as Campari but with half the alcohol and is less bitter.
Known simply as "The Spritz" all over Italy, this cocktail is a great option if you want to have a drink before dinner that preps your digestion and the low alcohol content keeps you from getting too out of hand before the next engagement.
Italians love bitters and this one contains gentian root, rhubarb, and cinchona. The bitter aperitifs are typically dry and are intended to whet your appetite for a meal. The medicinal quality of the herbs and roots used in the distilling of the pre-dinner beverages of Italy actually help activate your digestive system making a long haul meal easier to pace and enjoy.
If you want to make your own Aperol Spritz, try it out with the following recipe:
3 ounces prosecco
2 ounces Aperol
1 ounce club soda
Garnish: orange slice
Add the prosecco, Aperol and club soda to a wine glass filled with ice and stir.
Garnish with an orange slice.
Make this the happiest hour and escape to a patio near you with a sunset colored spritz in hand!