The “Spritz” – Summer Sunset In A Glass

The Spritz, with its zesty orange flavor and enticing bubbly finish, makes it impossible to not smile to yourself at first sip. This attractive Italian Aperitif is not only pretty to look at but with all its contrasting flavors and mouth feels it is one of the most famous cocktails to originate from Italy. The Spritz is like a summer sunset in a glass.

Aperitivo Time

The Spritz is served in the afternoon, around Aperitivo time, in all the bars of Italy, no matter the region. Aperitivo translates to a snack but is really the occasion of having an afternoon cocktail and snack together. Many times around the hours of 5 to 7 pm, if you find yourself in Italy you will be invited to a bar to have “un aperitivo”.  The Aperitif is a type of cocktail/drink meant to refresh you from the long hot day and stimulate your appetite for dinner. Around Aperitivo time most bars will have a selection of complimentary snacks on the bar to share amongst all guests. Mostly the snacks consist of a small array of finger foods such as chips, nuts, charcuterie, mini bite size pizzas, olives etc.

If one could briefly describe the essence of the Spritz most likely it would be “summer in a glass resembling a seasonal sunset in color”. Aperol is fairly new to the bar scene here in the states… where most bars used to carry Campari, a similar alcohol to Aperol, and is at the forefront with flavors of bitter and sweet, orange and rhubarb, it presents itself a sweeter version than Campari, it makes for a lighter more refreshing style warm weather cocktail.

3, 2, 1 Recipe For Aperol Spritz

As most cocktails have different versions and varieties so is true for the Aperol Spritz which can be made many different ways but the most popular way to make the famous Italian drink is the 3, 2, 1 method. Begin by pouring 3 oz. of prosecco over ice than gently pour over about 2 oz. of Aperol (for a sweeter drink add more Aperol for less sweet add less Aperol) finish by pouring 1 oz. of club soda and squeeze a little fresh orange right on top, lightly stir with a cocktail straw and finish by garnishing with an orange slice. The drink is typically served in a white wine glass but some bars might use a highball glass and in Venice you will find they garnish their Spritz with an olive vs. an orange.

A Little Spritz History

Now that you know how the Aperol Spritz is made how about going back a little to unveil how it came to be? In other words how did the Spritz become the Spritz? We find that Aperol was not a commonly know alcohol until about 1919 but the idea of adding into a drink or the “Spritz” dates back to the 1800s! It is said that because Italian wines were found to be too strong for the soldiers of other countries to tolerate, they would “cut” the bitter flavor by adding water. This eventually evolved to adding bubbly water. Even to this day, in Italy,  you may find the older generations of “Nonnos” playing cards on a hot sunny afternoon with only a mountain breeze providing any breaks from the heat, adding sprite to their wine to cut the alcohol content down a bit as it is typically early afternoon.

From the French word for apéritif: (Apéro) originated the name of Aperol and sometime in the 50’s the Aperol Spritz was born.  The Campari Group is credited for bringing the Aperol Spritz to its current status of fame with full force campaign around branding the drink and educating its consumers, and with marketing of a light, airy and easy to drink, the Aperol Spritz is now well known by the majority of higher end Italian restaurants anywhere in the U.S. Whether you love the Aperol Spritz or it is now on your list of what to make at your next summer gathering, Baratti & Milano has created the Aperol Spritz flavor in a bite size candy with all of the good summers feels and visuals from the cocktail, this candy is a great way to take an afternoon break and really visualize your next summer sunset…. Hopefully it involves an Spritz cocktail or Baratti & Milano candy in hand…

Buon Estate! Happy Summer!

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