There are certain times that call for a cocktail when you’d rather not admit that you want to drink a cocktail. For example: 4:00 p.m. on a particularly trying Thursday afternoon. Saturday brunch before noon. You get it. One of our favorite cocktails for such an occasion is the Aperol Spritz, undoubtedly the most common aperitif in Italy, meant to stimulate the appetite but not overwhelm the palate.
If you’ve been to Italy, you’ve no doubt seen folks sitting on the piazza having a cocktail before dinner. If you haven’t been to Italy, you might have walked by Quartino, one of our favorite Chicago restaurants where aperitif – or aperitif – is the name of the game.
An Aperol Spritz, one of my favorite pre-dinner cocktails, is a combination of sparkling wine with a splash of Aperol (a bitter liquer) and club soda, usually garnished with an orange.
What’s actually in Aperol? Excellent question. It’s something of a secret, but there is a bittersweet essence of oranges, herbs and rhubarb. While the official Aperol Spritz recipe calls for 3 parts prosecco, 2 parts Aperol and a splash of club soda, Quartino’s master mixologists have slightly tweaked the recipe to their tastes. In a word? We approve.
- 1.5 ounces Aperol
- 5 ounces Carpene Malvolti Prosecoo DOCG (or your favorite sparkling wine)
- 2 ounces Club Soda
- Fill a tumbler or large wine glass with ice and add sparkling wine. Top with Aperol, then add club soda and stir well. Garnish with a lemon slice and enjoy.