When in Rome, right? I’ve discussed the destination with its attractions and history. Also, I have discussed typical Roman cuisine and shared a recipe with you for Cacio e Pepe, a traditional dish of Rome. And now, my friends, it’s time to discuss Aperitivo, the Aperol Spritz, and all that follows!
What is Aperitivo and What Follows?
Aperitivo is a pre-meal drink; it is a cultural ritual, an experience; A European after-work tradition!. Being referred to as a tradition it is meant “to open” the stomach before dining. I think many of us can get into that! Cin cin is the expression used over drinks and appetizers in the evening hours between work and dinner. It is Cheeers, Salute, Gezuar, La Haxim! Typically, an Apertiivo is a carbonated, bitter, and low-alcohol beverage, such as the Aperol Spritz. The Aperol Spritz seems to be the go-to all over Western and Southern Europe. I was first introduced to the Aperol Spritz in the Balkan countries and was attracted to the bright, almost neon orange color.
Included in this happy hour tradition are, of course, appetizers, mezes, and tapas. These snacks would include crackers, olives, meats, cheeses, and bread. After all that, we follow with a real meal? Why? Because we love immersing ourselves in the tradition of sharing drinks and a meal! Don’t we?
The Infamous Aperol Spritz:
Other popular Roman cocktails include the Negroni: Gin, Campari, and red Vermouth; the Negroni Sbagliato: Prosecco, Campari, and red Vermouth; and the Campari Soda. Since we are discussing the custom of Aperitivo, the recipe for today is the infamous Aperol Spritz. After all, it is the consummate Aperitivo in that its name is derived from the same.
Made from gentian, rhubarb, and cinchona, Aperol is bright orange and can actually stand on its own without any mixers. It has a rather low alcohol content (11%) which makes it a perfect pre-meal drink or cocktail.
The Aperol Spritz has been around Italy for more than 100 years originating in Padua, Italy. Over time, its popularity spread throughout Europe and only within the last decade or so, to the United States.
Having a bittersweet flavor with aromatic botanicals, it is a great light and refreshing cocktail.
How Do We Make the Aperol Spritz?
If you have read any of my other articles, especially those which are cocktail recipes. you know by now, that I am a huge proponent of mixing ahead. The Aperol Spritz falls into the category of a cocktail that is perfect for the make-ahead pitcher!
Nutrition: per serving
Calories 95; Fat 0g Saturates 0g Carbs; 19g Sugars; 19g Fiber, 0g Protein; 0g Salt
- 12 ounces of Aperol
- 3 ounces of Prosecco
- soda, to top up ( If using water, it’s best to use sparkling water or club soda. Personally, I skip this and just use the Prosecco)
Serve this cocktail in champagne flutes, a snifter, a wine glass, or a rocks glass. Place a couple of ice cubes into 2 glasses. Add 50 ml of Aperol to each glass. Divide the Prosecco between the glasses. Top up with soda, if you like. garnish with an orange slice or any other seasonal fruit.
Serve this up with snacks and you have yourself an Aperitivo, no matter where in the world you are! And so, possibly, a new tradition is born. Or, an established tradition of after-work drinks with a new, cosmopolitan Italian name!
And please, friends, drink responsibly and don’t forget dinner!
When in Rome. Right? In my case, I had my first Aperol Spritz in Crete, the largest Greek island. My friend ordered one. I had seen her drink these colorful drinks when we were in Albania together but had never tried one. (I know she is reading this: No need to mention her name. She knows who she is!) What the heck, new things, new experiences. Isn’t that part of travel? Of course, it is. The adventure of travel isn’t just the destination; it’s the culinary and in this case, the cocktail experience. It’s about immersion in the cultural traditions and understanding the nuances of those cultures we expose ourselves to. It really is “When in Rome, do as the Romans do!” and it’s about living Mallory’s Dream!
Until next time friends, remember “To Travel is to Live!”