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makes 6 Servings
6 tablespoons Aperol
6 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 750-ml bottle Prosecco
6 thin orange slices (for garnish)
Place enough ice cubes in each of 6 balloon wineglasses to fill 2/3 full. Add 1 tablespoon Aperol and 1 tablespoon orange juice to each glass. Top off each drink with 1/2 cup Prosecco; garnish with orange slices.
Recipe by Joanne Weir
Photos by Kana Okada
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Aperol and Blood Orange-Mint Spritz Recipe
This bubbly cocktail showcases blood oranges, which have a tart-sweet flavor. You can also use navel oranges. We love the rich color of blood orange juice, but you can also use navel oranges if that&rsquos what you have on-hand. Aperol is an Italian aperitif made primarily with bitter orange, rhubarb, and other flavors. This recipe is easy enough for an impromptu cocktail hour, but festive enough to play the role of signature cocktail at a New Year&rsquos Eve bash. As is, the recipe will make one serving. You can easily scale up the recipe for a crowd, but you might want to invest in a juicing machine as each serving calls for ½ cup of fresh blood orange juice, which means you&rsquoll be squeezing about six orange halves per cocktail. Other than squeezing the oranges, this recipe is as simple as can be. Simply add the Prosecco and Aperol to an ice-filled glass. Top each cocktail with the fresh blood orange juice and garnish with a mint sprig. This cocktail is part of the red beans and rice party menu from Alon Shaya and his wife Emily. Other delicious recipes from the collection include Yogurt Pound Cake with Pomegranate Syrup, Cornbread with Lemon-Thyme Butter, Charred Root Vegetables with Bagna Cauda, and Apple and Goat Cheese Salad with Candied Pecans.
What is Aperol?
Aperol is an Italian bitter apéritif made of gentian, rhubarb, and cinchona, among other ingredients. It has a vibrant orange hue. Its name comes from the French slang word for aperitif, which is apero.
Aperol was originally produced by the Barbieri company, based in Padua, but is now produced by the Campari Group. While Aperol was originally created in 1919, by Luigi and Silvio Barbieri, it did not become successful until after World War II. Although it tastes and smells much like Campari, Aperol has an alcohol content of 11%, less than half that of Campari. Aperol and Campari have the same sugar content, and Aperol is less bitter in taste. Campari is also much darker in color.
The Spritz, also known as Aperol Spritz, is the most famous Aperol-based cocktail. Another popular variant is the Aperol Gin cocktail.
Ingredients you’ll need to make our homemade Aperol Gin cocktail recipe.
The Winter Sun Cocktail
Things have been a little quiet on the blog the past few weeks. I have taken a bit of a break from blogging over the holidays (a side from drinks over on Instagram) and was relaxing a bit, reflecting, and getting things in order for the new year. But I am baaaaack.
We all need a little extra vitamin C to give us a pep-in-our-step this time of year, and I am brining it to you today in the form of a delicious cocktail!
The Winter Sun cocktail is just that, a dose of sunshine in your glass! And who can deny it with a color like that? A mix of blood orange and Aperol give it a rich and intense orange hue that just begs to be sipped on. Get rid of that those mid-winter blues with a punch of orange!
Blood oranges are in the peak of their season which means they are extra rip and juicy, yuuuum! There is just something about blood oranges that has captured the culinary and drink world by storm the past few years. Maybe it’s their unassuming exterior that gives way to the crimson flesh, or their sweet and slightly bitter flavor, but one thing is for sure, they are here to stay. They have a lower acidity then regular navel oranges so when using in place of oranges in recipes, adjust the blood orange accordingly to get the acidity correct.
If you have never had Aperol before (not even an Aperol Spritz?) it is often compared to being Campari’s sweeter, orange packed sister. Despite it’s sweeter profile, It is still a bitter liqueur that adds a nice dry component to a drink. Comprised of bitter orange, gentian, rhubarb and cinchona to name a few, it’s flavor is complex as it is delicious. In the Winter Sun, it brings a nice, well, bitterness to a drink that would other wise be lacking in flavor and touch too sweet.
I love how herbs can perk up a drink, don’t you? They bring a fresh flavor to a cocktail and as a garnish, they create another depth to the drink through their aroma alone. Plus, they just look dang pretty atop a tipple. Here I used thyme. It’s slighty earthy and herbacious that plays well with Aperol. Orange and thyme just make a great combindation in drinks as well as in dishes and desserts.
I can’t wait to make another round of these soon to chase those blues away!
The Winter Sun
- 1 1/2 oz gin (I used St George’s Botanivore for it’s subtle juniper notes)
- 3/4 oz Aperol (c/o Campari America)
- 3/4 oz blood orange juice
- 1/2 oz thyme syrup (recipe below)
- 2 oz soda water
- thyme sprig & blood orange wheel, garnish
Combine all ingredients except for soda water into a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a glass with ice. Garnish with blood orange wheel and thyme sprig.
Thyme Rich Syrup
Place sugar and water in a saucepan on high. Allow the sugar to dissolve before adding the thyme sprigs. Bring to a boil and boil. Take off the heat and let cool, covered before using.
If you love blood oranges as much as I do, be sure to check back during the season for even more recipes using these beauties. Trust me, there will be plenty of cocktails and even some food featuring this crimson citrus! What is your favorite blood orange drink? I’d love to hear!
For more cocktails, you can find me on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Snapchat (@ashroseconway)
When cocktails inspire dessert — Aperol spritz bars, anyone?
The French have a tradition worth adopting called “apero.” Essentially a casual early evening gathering for an aperitif or glass of wine, it is the perfect way to catch up with friends without the pressure of a dinner party. Often only lasting a civilized 60-90 minutes before everyone respectfully decamps to deal with their own dinners and evening obligations, it is a habit that I fully endorse, especially if you are close to some of your neighbors. Whether it is a porch or backyard glass of rosé in the summer, or a warming Boulevardier by the fire in winter, the perfect apero needs only some small nibbles to accompany the drinks. Even better, it lends itself to spontaneity, so you can extend that invite when you bump into someone during the day, suggesting they pop round after work.
Second only to inviting pals for a quick before-dinner visit, having people over for dessert is equally simple and enjoyable, especially for those of us who love to bake. Post-prandial digestifs, or coffee or tea and something sweet are a lovely way to end an evening, especially after a long work day, and the same principles apply. Low-impact for the host, who can be fully present with guests, and maximum pleasure. Who wouldn’t want to be invited over on a random Wednesday for dessert?
These convivial and simple gatherings don’t want a fancy dessert that requires plates and garnishes. Think ice cream bars or paletas if you have a place nearby to source them and room in the freezer, cookies or bars, small ramekins of pudding, pound cakes or snack cakes. These are grown-up gatherings, so desserts that are less-sweet and more sophisticated are the place to start. For the perfect combination of drink and dessert, we turned to classics for inspiration. There are plenty of recipes that take the basic flavor profile of a cocktail as a jumping off point, but these adults-only desserts go one step further and are made with the real thing. Which means you can have your dessert gathering with the spirit of the apero front and center.
A favorite predinner tipple is the Aperol spritz. This orange fizzy refresher is a palate awakener, and not too boozy. Taking your classic lemon bar and upping the ante with both Aperol and sparkling wine, with orange providing the backbone, makes for a bar that is a bit more complex. If you aren’t an Aperol fan, you can swap out the ¾ cup of liquid for ¾ cup of any citrusy cocktail you like. I have done them in Negroni, margarita and Paloma versions.
Cool weather for me means a return of the Old-Fashioned, and bourbon, orange and cherry are a great flavor combination for an Old-Fashioned pound cake. Using orange bitters in the glaze takes the cake to the next level. Since it gets even better for up to four days, it is a perfect thing to bake over the weekend in hopes of a gathering midweek.
Starting your night simply with red wine, cheese and olives is the easiest way to entertain. So, ending your night the same way seems a natural! The red wine dark chocolate cake is a riff on a traditional cake from the Alsace region of France, where leftover wine is an opportunity and not a tragedy. Adding a tart goat cheese frosting and a cheeky garnish of candied olives makes for an unusual and delicious offering that will surprise and delight your guests.
Whether you make these desserts for a full dinner party, or as an excuse to invite your friends ’round for a brief visit on a Sunday afternoon or after the kids go to bed midweek, they will be grateful for the hospitality and time with you.
Please note, none of these cook long enough or at a high enough temperature to fully remove the alcohol, so they truly are desserts for the over-21 set. Sorry, kids!
Aperol Cocktails: 20 to TryA bright and bitter aperitivo that transcends the seasons. | Photo by Emma Janzen. Amen Corner. | Photo by Brittany Ambridge. The Basil Daisy features an easygoing mix of vodka, Aperol, lemon and fresh basil. | Photo by Andrew Cebulka. The Blended Aperol Spritz boasts all the same great personality as the beloved classic, but with a touch more moxie. | Photo by Lara Ferroni. Clockwork Orange. | Photo by Stephen Woodburn. A sultry mix of aged rum, sherry and two Italian liqueurs. | Photo by Eugenio Mazzinghi. The juiciness of sangria meets the sparkle of a spritz. | Photo by John Valls. A modern classic blending mezcal and Aperol. | Photo by John Valls. Negroni di Aquila. | Photo by Emma Janzen. Tasteful Nudes. | Photo by Julia Ross. A mix of white rum, yellow Chartreuse, pineapple sage and Aperol. Pobrecito Passionfruit Cocktail. | Photo by Emma Janzen. A bitter butterfly rooted in amaro and whiskey. | Photo by Katie Burton. Strawberry Rhubarb Margarita. | Photo by Jonathan Boncek. Steelroller. | Photo by Imbibe. The Last Shandy. | Photo by Lara Ferroni. Tequila Watermelon Slushy. | Photo by Katie Burton. The Aperol Spritz inspired this holiday punch. | Photo by Andrew Trinh. A Negroni variation with Aperol and Amaro Montenegro. | Photo by Eric Medsker. Wicked Behavior. | Photo by Emma Janzen.
If you hit St. Mark&rsquos Square in Venice at the right time of afternoon, with the pigeons scuttling about and the sun still warming the topmost angles of the clock tower, you&rsquoll notice that many of those gathered at the tables around the piazza are sipping goblets full of a drink that echoes the color of the sunset they&rsquore soaking in. These spritzes are ubiquitous in this area of Italy, their glowing orange E.T. hearts typically comprised of Aperol, a bittersweet Italian liqueur that&rsquos been on the scene since the early 20th century.
As with so many liqueurs, Aperol&rsquos exact recipe remains secret, though the makers acknowledge bitter and sweet oranges and rhubarb are in the mix. More sweet than bitter, and only 11 percent alcohol, the liqueur is what you&rsquod get if Campari took a beach vacation, returning home with a lighter disposition and tales of sunny hillsides thick with citrus trees. The recipe for a perfect Aperol Spritz is a simple countdown: pour three parts dry prosecco, two parts Aperol and one part seltzer into a wine glass half-full of ice, and boom: you&rsquove got the most popular cocktail in Italy, one that&rsquos helped carry the liqueur across the globe. Alongside the G&T, the Aperol Spritz is perhaps the most easy- drinking cocktail in the world, made for long afternoons at piazzas, patios and picnic tables.
Aperol has long been at home in Italy&rsquos spritz, and as it&rsquos crossed the pond, it&rsquos gotten picked up and incorporated in new cocktails. Here are 20 ways to keep in your drinks arsenal for warm-weather sipping.
Aperitivo del Nonno A bright and bitter aperitivo that transcends the seasons.
Amen Corner A simple twist on the original Paper Plane.
Basil Daisy A bright and herbaceous mix of vodka, Aperol, simple syrup, lemon juice and fresh basil.
Blended Aperol Spritz Fresh lime and orange juice bring a sweet, citrusy zip to this frozen spritz.
Clockwork Orange Aquavit anchors coffee, orange, Aperol and bitters in this lovely nightcap.
Countess of the Caribbean A sultry mix of aged rum, sherry and two Italian liqueurs.
Daybreaker When the juiciness of sangria meets the sparkle of a spritz.
Passion Fruit Cocktail Rye whiskey builds a sturdy backbone for this summery cocktail.
Paper Plane A bitter butterfly rooted in amaro and whiskey.
Naked and Famous A modern classic made with Aperol and mezcal.
Negroni di Aquila A softer take on the Sbagliato.
Strawberry Rhubarb Margarita Fresh ingredients make all the difference in this seasonal margarita.
Steelroller A cocktail that&rsquoll warm you through and through.
Tasteful Nudes Rosemary and tequila perk up with Aperol and grapefruit.
The Last Shandy The classic shandy gets a bitter twist with grapefruit-kissed Aperol.
Tequila Watermelon Slushy Refreshing, balanced and a snap to whip up.
Tropic Like It&rsquos Hot A winning mix of white rum, yellow Chartreuse, pineapple sage and Aperol.
Waterproof Watch A Negroni variation with Aperol and Amaro Montenegro.
Wicked Behavior Whiskey and pineapple lead the charge in this complex medley.
Yellowbelly Vino Punch The Aperol Spritz inspired this holiday punch.
What if you don’t like Aperol?
Although the Aperol Spritz is the big dog in the spritz category of drinks, it’s not for everyone. While most people appreciate the bright, citrusy flavor, some find it to be a little too sweet or want to try something different.
For these people, you can modify the recipe in any number of ways. Swap in a different amaro with more bitter elements, different types of sparkling wine (some recommend dry pétillant naturel or pét-nat), or simply using tonic water instead of soda water to finish the drink.
Beat the heat with Italy's famous Aperol Spritz cocktail
The heat this summer reminds me of our visit to Rome last year at the height of an epic heat wave that was ripping through Europe. I have fond memories of almost melting into a puddle atop the Colosseum and bravely telling my husband and son to “go on without me” as I sneaked off to find some shade and, hopefully, something cool to sip on.
Everywhere we went in Italy, we saw beautiful people, eating beautiful food, in beautiful places, with beautiful drinks. In Rome, especially, we kept seeing the same drink, over and over: Glass after glass filled with a glamorous liquid sunset, made to look even more tantalizing with a floating slice of fresh orange… and ice. Lots of ice.
Instinctively, I knew that this must be the famous Aperol Spritz cocktail — the summer drink of Rome and Italy. Featuring Aperol liqueur, prosecco and club soda, this sun-kissed cocktail called to me like a siren song, luring me in with the promise of refreshment that would cool me down and possibly even dress me up, or at least keep me from appearing too wilted.
One sip and I knew I would (eventually) make it back to the Colosseum without melting. Two sips and I knew I had a new favorite drink for summer.
These Low-Alcohol Cocktails Are the Perfect Cure for a Hot Summer Afternoon
Photo: courtesy Ekaterina Molchanova/Shutterstock
There&rsquos this scene in The Odyssey where Odysseus is about to sail past the Sirens. The story goes that any man who hears the Sirens&rsquo song is thrust into a kind of trance, and can do nothing but move toward it and listen&mdashrapt and helpless&mdashuntil his death. The Sirens island is littered with sailor&rsquos bones. It is, in a word, dangerous.
Odysseus has two solutions: 1. He plugs the ears of their crew, so they can&rsquot even hear it as they row by or 2. He himself is too curious so he keeps his ears open, but asks them to bind him to the mast of the ship, so he can hear it and be driven mad with desire but unable to move. And while that works pretty well for him, I humbly submit there is another way, a third door, which is to make the thing for which you are so tempted less dangerous. Declaw it. Take the fangs out.
I say all that to say this: Summertime weekends have their own Siren&rsquos Song, no less alluring and only a little less dangerous, and it&rsquos day-drinking.
Day-drinking is fun. You know you&rsquore not supposed to do it, which is part of the appeal. It feels good, especially now, to color outside the lines a little bit from time to time, and almost everything on a summer weekend seems to encourage you to do so. Brunch practically dares you to indulge. Barbecues explicitly invite it. Outdoor hangouts at 1 p.m. on a Saturday, kids playing outside, sun warming you through the rustle of the trees&hellip this kind of thing yearns for a refreshing cocktail or cold beer or chilled glass of wine.
If you&rsquore not careful, though, you&rsquore passed out by dusk and wake up on the couch at 2 a.m. sunburnt and hungover and it takes the better part of a week to get the kink out of your neck. So do you: 1. Not even expose yourself to temptation? Or 2. Go, face the temptation, but abstain? Both are totally acceptable, of course, but if you were looking for a third door, look no further than the low-ABV cocktail.
&ldquoLow-alcohol cocktails&rdquo seem to many people, at first blush, like &ldquominimum-strength Advil.&rdquo These drinks frequently elicit puzzled looks from bar guests, wondering why anyone would ever request such a thing. But for some applications, you already know refreshing and low-ABV is what you want. Daytime isn&rsquot for your big, bold 15 percent Napa Cabs&mdashit&rsquos for Vinho Verde or Pinot Grigio. It&rsquos not for double IPAs, it&rsquos for light lager. Everything has a place, and low-proof cocktails help ensure you won&rsquot have to sacrifice tomorrow at the altar of today.
Here are a few professional tips on how to enjoy low-ABV cocktails responsibly, and in style.
A refreshing sherry cobbler. Photo: courtesy Maksym Fesenko/Shutterstock
Your Grandmother Was Right
Sherry is delicious. Sherry, the legendary fortified wine from the southern tip of Spain, ranges wildly in sugar levels from dessert-like to the driest white wine you&rsquove ever had. Seek the dry side, (fino, manzanilla, or amontillado), which has a nutty, slightly saline quality that makes for absolutely superb low-impact drinking. It&rsquos delightful served straight with nuts or cured meats, but really sings in a Sherry Cobbler, which is as good now as it was when it was invented some 200 years ago.
- 2 oz dry Sherry
- 0.75 oz lemon juice
- 0.5 oz simple syrup
- 2 slices fresh orange
Throw all the ingredients together in a tin and shake on ice hard enough to beat up the orange slices. Strain over crushed ice in a highball glass, decorate with whatever fruit you have around. Sliced apples, berries, or stone-fruits all work great. Garnish with a sprig of mint, if you have it.
Spritz It Up
The Aperol Spritz is Italy&rsquos most popular cocktail and it&rsquos not hard to see why. Aperol, the slightly bitter, 11% ABV aperitivo is irresistibly bright, sunshine in a glass, and never more so spritzed out with soda water and a sparkling wine. The main struggle of Aperol Spritzes is that their sweetness is difficult to control, a problem I like to respond to by reducing the Aperol, stretching it out with a bit more soda, and using a tart sparkling wine. Prosecco is traditional and delicious, but you have to make sure it&rsquos dry&mdashI generally reach for the reliably fresh brightness of brut cava or cremant, or if I’m feeling indulgent, Champagne. The wine is the only real source of acidity you have here, so you want to make sure it cuts through the sweetness of the aperol. Why not make it a rosé while you&rsquore at it? It&rsquos summer.
Mix all ingredients in tall glass (or wine glass) over ice. Add an orange slice to garnish.
Flavored Soda Water Is Your Friend
My dad drank LaCroix when I was growing up, which made me think it was the lamest thing in the world. The joke&rsquos on me I guess, because over the last 15 years the vertiginous ascent of flavored soda water would shame a rocket. It&rsquos amazing for abstaining from drinking entirely, but equally amazing for mixing in drinks&mdasha DIY White Claw, if you will, but one in which you control the strength. You don&rsquot need much alcohol&mdashjust 1 oz of 40 percent spirit mixed with 7 oz of flavored soda water will give you a mixture weighing at 5 percent ABV. Note, though, that most of these don&rsquot add any citric acid, so to make it pop you&rsquoll have to squeeze in a lemon or lime.
Pour tequila in a highball over ice, top with LaCroix and garnish with a lime wedge.
Don&rsquot miss the food event of the year. Register for Robb Report&rsquos Culinary Masters now. Or, for more information, visit RR1.
The Aperol Spritz and Capri Sun Blind Taste Test
A recent New York Times article claimed the popular Aperol Spritz tasted like a Capri Sun after soccer practice. We asked one of our favorite local cocktail creators, Mark Hibbard, to weigh in on the Aperol Spritz shame.
Does The Aperol Spritz Taste Like A Capri Sun?
I recently attended a birthday party for a five-year-old. It was a classic late July, backyard cookout with all the trimmings and trappings of pure Americana. The grill was lit, Norman Rockwell was quietly setting up his easel, and my excitement peaked as the hot dogs hit the grill.
I’ve been in the restaurant industry for nearly twenty years, but the hours I keep can be strange, and as a result, my diet fluctuates wildly. Some days I ride the winds of transcendent epicurean delight other days I eat whatever is quick, and hot dogs are usually my top pick. Another side effect of chronic bartending is rarely seeing the sun and as a result, I need kevlar strength sunblock. So, I grabbed a chair and started to apply my liquid primer SPF100 and watch the children scamper about. They were playing a modified game of tag that involved a Wiffle bat and each child was clutching a Capri Sun in between swings.
Instantly I recalled a New York Times article from last May, which in Internet time is roughly 32 years ago, that claimed the Aperol Spritz “drinks like a Capri Sun after soccer practice on a hot day.” For three long months, I had wondered if this statement held any merit and finally I was given the opportunity to taste for myself.
I quickly ate my four hotdogs, nicked a couple of silver pouches from the kid’s cooler and excused myself. I retired to the safety of my air-conditioned apartment and being the true beverage professional that I am, set up a side by side blind tasting. It took only a moment to realize that doing a blind tasting by oneself is a horrible idea. Moments after placing the blindfold over my eyes I began to struggle with the Capri Sun pouch. I failed to puncture the silver bag properly and managed to spill my Aperol Spritz all over the living room rug.
After regrouping and sans blindfold, I chose to admire both drinks side by side, we eat with our eyes first, after all. The Aperol Spritz glimmered orange and radiant the Capri Sun was harder to nail down because the bag is silver and opaque, I imagine the contents are of a similar hue.
On the palate, the Spritz did skew a bit sweet, a touch more than my go-to drinks of choice, but the mildly bitter orange notes provided a little backbone.
The Capri Sun tasted almost tropical, like trying to draw or paint the flavor of pineapple or orange from memory. The Aperol Spritz had a pleasant effervescent bounce while the Capri Sun remained still and placid.
The differences were strikingly obvious and the results of my study were definitive and final. Let it be known, the Aperol Spritz does not taste like a Capri Sun after soccer practice on a hot day.
It should be noted that I did not conduct this experiment after soccer practice on a hot day, but I did drink a second Aperol Spritz while watching the highlight reel from this year’s U.S. Woman’s Cup World Cup Championship victory, which is basically the same thing.
I would also like to add that I deviate from the standard Aperol Spritz recipe which is:
- 1.25oz. Aperol
- 2oz. Prosecco
- 1oz. Soda Water
- *Serve over ice with an orange wheel.
I prefer to build them as such:
- 1.5oz. Aperol
- 3oz. Brut Champagne
- 1.5oz. Soda Water
- *Serve over ice with an orange twist.
See what I did there? I took what was once a drink that was a touch too sweet for me and tweaked it to my preferences. I believe there are some rules as to how drinks should be made, but in the end, all of those rules bend and break to the preference of the person drinking the drink.