As I’ve written about in prior posts, a significant portion of my job is driving around the state of Oregon, going to meetings. Some of these drives are between three and four hours or fall into the rush hours in Portland (from noon to eight or such). I’ve taken to listening to a combination of audiobooks and podcasts to help pass the time. One of my favorite podcasts I recently discovered is Burnt Toast, from the editors of Food52. I’ve enjoyed listening to interviews with both Ruth Reichl and Nigella Lawson. I’ve learned about several cookbooks I really, really need to get and am hoping for a free weekend soon to go to Powell’s (my all-time favorite in the world bookstore in Portland) to get them.
One of the recent podcasts was all about the Italian Spritz. I don’t know how I wandered around Rome for several days nearly nine years ago and missed out on this simple cocktail, but somehow, I did and it took a podcast here in the US to introduce me. I immediately went out and bought Prosecco, Aperol, and soda water and started making these. Aperol is a super-tart aperitif made with bitter orange, gentian, rhubarb and cinchona (along with other unidentified and probably proprietary ingredients). Cinchona is a tropical plant, which has bark that’s been used for medicinal purposes to treat malaria and is an ingredient in quinine. The latter piece of trivia here is interesting to me, as I really like the taste of Aperol – it has the same distinctly tanginess that I enjoy in a gin and tonic, and tonic water has quinine in it – I can definitely see the connection between the flavors.
Enough trivia – here’s the super easy recipe for an Aperol Spritz. My advice for the weekend is to make one or more of these and lie in hammock to read.
Fill a wine glass about half-way with Prosecco. Add Aperol until the glass is about three-quarter’s full. Add soda water and ice and enjoy. If you run out of Prosecco, don’t panic – I’ve also made this with white wine. It’s not as fizzy, but just as cool and refreshing on a hot summer evening.