Italy is one of those places I would love to go back to. I went on my honeymoon, a lovely tour which took in Florence, Rome and Venice as well as other places. We saw so much while we were there, throwing coins in the Trevi fountain in Rome, admiring the leaning tower of Pisa, the bridge of Sighs in Venice and visiting the cathedral in Florence. We visited many cathedrals; it seems that every city has a historic cathedral that must be visited. It was the perfect trip in many ways and I have plenty of lovely memories to look back on.
In Italy pace of life is different, in the heat of the sun most people are indoors. The saying mad dogs and Englishmen is definitely true. As the heat of the day begins to wane, people start to return to the streets and piazzas. As the afternoon gets later and early evening begins people sit down for a glass of wine, a beer or a spritz. Evening meals are eaten late in the evening and an aperitivo is usually served as a stop gap.
An apertivo is a drink that is served to whet the appetite for the evening meal, often served with nibbles. Bowls of nuts, crisps, olives or cubes of cheese are often choices. The aperitivo keeps you from starving until the evening meal is served, often around nine at night.
In Italy the aperitivo of choice is often an Aperol Spritz. Aperol is a liquer which is lower in alcohol than most liquers. The original recipe was created by the Barbieri brothers and is a closely guarded secret. It contains bitter orange, rhubarb and a combination of roots and herbs which give it a slightly bitter taste with an edge of sweetness. It also has a distinctive orange colour. It is the aperitif of choice as it is low in alcohol, aromatic and slightly bitter making it the ideal before dinner drink.
The drink is easy to recreate at home allowing you to bring a touch of the Italian lifestyle into those warm Autumn evenings that promise a lingering Indian Summer. The standard Aperol Spritz uses 3 parts Prosecco, 2 parts Aperol and a splash of soda. Pour into a glass filled with ice and garnished with a slice of orange for the perfect early evening drink.
Aperol Spritz Recipe
3 parts Prosecco
2 parts Aperol
1 splash soda
Serve in a glass filled with ice.
Garnish with a slice of orange
Other refreshing drink recipes you can try are sparkling matcha which is a sparkling lime flavoured drink.
Alternatively gooseberry, orange and elderflower cordial is a lovely thirst quencher.
I was sent the ingredients to make an aperol spritz but was not obliged to say anything nice.