August 30, 2011

An invitation to enjoy life... a simple way, happily, spontaneously and in good company. This is the tag line for the aperitif, Aperol. Sounds to me like a perfect tonic to whatever ails you. I first had the pleasure of experiencing the bitter-sweetness of Aperol while holiday-making in Venice, Italy in 2008. It was presented in it's popular Spritz cocktail form. Since then I had almost forgotten about this ruby-hued elixir until recently.
Aperol originated in Italy in 1919 and was first produced by the Barbieri Company. Some like to think of this fine beverage as Campari-light. It is a mixture of bitter and sweet orange, rhubarb and many other herbs which help balance the sharpness. The '20s saw the rise of the first wave of heavy advertising. These beautiful old posters sell a laid-back and glamorous life. In the 1930's an advertising campaign geared towards women sold Aperol as a liqueur for the fitness conscious, promising to keeping them lean and fit thanks to its low alcohol content. It's popularity surged after World War II and it was around this time the Spritz came into fashion.

Spritz Cocktail Recipe
2 to 3 ounces Prosecco or sparkling wine
1 1/2 ounces Aperol
Splash of sparkling water
Orange slice and speared green olive
Serve over ice in a large bowl shaped wine glass

I would love to think that drinking anything would keep my waistline from expanding, yet I am pretty sure this is no miracle potion. Though Aperol's low alcohol content does make it an easy choice for sipping away these late summer afternoons. It can be incredibly light and refreshing on it's own or mixed with any medley of different juices or sodas. I have come up with a delicious and light cocktail of my own. See below:

Patio Pleaser
1 ounce gin
2 ounces Aperol
Top with Blood Orange soda (mine was of the Italian organic variety)
Lemon slice for garnish
Serve over ice in a large bowl shaped wine glass

Perfect for everyday sipping or a holiday weekend soirée.

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