This coastal sunset martini combines several of my favorite cocktail ingredients: gin, grapefruit bitters, and Aperol. I realize that I really enjoy bitter as a flavor profile for my cocktails. This makes Aperol the perfect addition to many a drink.
The inspiration for this week’s cocktail is two-fold. Last week, I had to go to Eugene for a meeting. I knew the weather was going to be much warmer inland than it has been here on the coast. What I didn’t realize was that we were going to be driving into the record-breaking heatwave that plagued much of the I-5 corridor all along the PNW last week. It’s quite a shock to the system to go from a temperate 65 degrees to 100 degrees. The worst part was that I just felt lethargic – it was all I could do to drag myself out of the hotel to find dinner. (Ok, ok – I was enthusiastic enough to go shopping at DSW. After all, shoes).
We ended up at the new Pastini in Eugene. Pastini is a fun Oregon chain that we used to go to sometimes in Portland. They serve mostly pasta dishes. They also make some fun cocktails – I couldn’t resist checking out the Vespa, a combination of gin, Aperol, and grapefruit soda. It was a great anecdote to the miserable heat.
I was so happy to be heading west after my meeting was over. The temperature dropped thirty degrees between Eugene and the coast, and I was finally back in my comfort zone. One of the really awful parts about the heat this past week is that it didn’t help the many wildfires that are currently burning in the PNW. I later found out that Eugene’s air quality was really bad – the heat, the air stagnation and all the wildfire smoke contributed to a nasty mess. I always feel a little guilty enjoying the spectacular sunrises and sunsets that occur this time of year, because I know we are getting them because of all the smoke in the air. I was, frankly, surprised to see one of those sunsets this far west this past weekend.
So, between the Vespa cocktail in Eugene and the glowing orange sunset the other night, I couldn’t resist making my own Aperol and grapefruit martini. And because I really like my cocktails with a bitter kick, I used grapefruit bitters to rinse my glass and cut way back on the grapefruit soda so that it wouldn’t be overly sweet. Feel free to adjust the amount of soda to meet your taste.
- 3 drops grapefruit bitters
- 3 ounces gin
- 1 ounce Aperol
- Grapefruit soda to top
- Swirl the grapefruit bitters in a chilled martini glass. Add the gin and Aperol and stir. Top with grapefruit soda. Makes 1. Enjoy!