When Hearst Magazines recently moved their offices from Times Square to One World Trade Center, the staff at Bon Appetit selected for their farewell cocktail in their now empty midtown test kitchen the completely subdued, totally uncomplicated, utterly un-Bon Appetit choice of Italian Spritzers over crushed ice*. A drink usually associated with 105-year old Italian men, the Italian Spritzer (or “Aperol Spritz”) used to be relegated solely to summer months but a recent growing trend has been the replacement of prosecco with champagne to serve the drink as a more luxurious winter cocktail (imagine in punch bowls). And because I worship at the altar of BA’s Senior Food Editor Alison Roman, I recently decided that I too, now drink Italian Spritzers over crushed ice in January.
The Italian Spritzer is one of the easiest cocktails to make and involves the simple combination of white sparkling wine, club soda and the Italian aperitif, Aperol. Aperol is like training wheels for Campari – it’s flavored with mandarin orange, a little sweeter and a lot less bitter. And it only has half the alcohol content of Campari, which is a total bummer.
I thought I was being really cool and original and Bon Appetit-esque while mixing one for a friend the other night while droning on and on about creating the perfect champagne float on top and Aperol’s density versus other Italian apertifs from the Piedmont region, until I looked at the back of the Aperol bottle and realized…the recipe is right there. So yeah, I’m basically a modern day Julia Child.
Because I like to add calories to things, I switched out club soda for a very generous splash of San Pellegrino Aranciata Rossa. This also had the added benefit that it turned my cocktail a glaring shade of hot pink and made me feel like I was drinking a post-college version of jungle juice appropriate for a 28-year old accountant.
The Italian Spritzer
In a highball or large red wine glass, pour 2 oz. of Aperol over ice. Fill glass 2/3 way with prosecco (or any sparkling wine). Add splash of club soda or San Pellegrino Aranciata Rossa. Top with one more ounce of prosecco. Garnish with orange slice (or an olive if you want to be molto tradizionale and also gross yourself out).
*I wish I knew this for cooler reasons but I know this because I stalk Adam Rapoport on Instagram