You may be wondering—wait, didn’t she just announce she’s pregnant in one of the latest posts? And this post is about alcohol? No, I don’t drink while I’m pregnant (it hasn’t really appealed to me either time), but that doesn’t mean all of you should miss out on partaking in this wonderful, light cocktail! The Aperol Spritz is the only alcoholic drink I’ve really missed while being pregnant; it’s such a wonderful thing to sip on (or essentially chug, if you’re like me, because it’s so tasty) when the weather’s warm. It’s a super easy and forgiving drink to make, and one that’s meant to be shared with friends and family—you wouldn’t want to open and entire bottle of champagne for one drink (unless that’s your MO, then go for it).
When Jonji and I travelled to Italy in 2019, we spent the middle portion of our journey on the coast in Monterosso. The town was small, and on the crown of one of the rocky cliffs overlooking the sea stood what looked like a tiny castle. We quickly realized it was a restaurant, but the price tag for dinner resulted in us deciding to just do aperitifs. We sat on an open-air balcony with a steep drop down to the water below and ordered Aperol spritzes and an assortment of snacks. Sipping those slightly sweet, slightly bitter drinks tinged a bubbly, happy bright red, with nowhere to be but a miniature castle on the edge of the ocean in the setting sun, was absolute bliss. When we journeyed to Florence on the next and last leg of our journey, we found a bar entirely dedicated to spritzes of all kinds, ranging from sweeter (Aperol) to more bitter (Campari, etc.). My love of spritzes has only grown over the intervening years.
The Aperol Spritz is a social drink at heart, and tastes especially good on vacation, at an outdoor summer meal, or really anywhere outside you can bring them. At a family lake vacation recently, my sister Bailey stuffed bottles of champagne, Aperol, sparkling water, glasses, an orange, and a bowl of ice into a wagon with her two children and walked the quarter mile down to the beach to meet our extended family. She squatted amongst the plant life at the water’s edge, measuring ice and liquid into an assortment of glasses, and cut the orange into segments on top of a rock. They may have not been the most refined spritzes I’ve ever seen, but they still tasted incredible (I allowed myself a sip and promptly felt quite sad I couldn’t have one all to myself).
If you’re looking for a food pairing, these go wonderfully with a big pasta dish to share, like Frutti di Mar (also inspired by that one trip to Italy), Summer Grain Bowls, anything grilled, or any fruity salad (like this one). Note that this recipe makes one drink, but you’ll need at least one whole bottle of champagne or Prosecco, so I suggest inviting a couple of friends over when the craving hits you. They’ll be floored by the cheerfully colored drink the shadow of which, when placed on a light-colored surface in the sun, is reminiscent of Sauron’s eye both in color and texture. Someone pop the champagne!
Note: If you find these too sweet, I suggest swapping the Aperol completely for Campari or another bitter aperitif.
makes 1 drink
3 parts (3 oz) Prosecco or brut champagne
2 parts (2 oz) Aperol, or a combination of Aperol and Campari
1 part (1 oz) sparkling water
1 orange slice, for garnish
Fill your glass of choice 3/4 full of ice. If you want to eyeball this recipe (this works especially well if you have different glass sizes), pour 3 parts Prosecco, 2 parts Aperol, and 1 part sparkling water almost to the top of your glass. If you want to be precise, use the measurements! Stir a couple times with a knife or spoon and garnish with a half moon or round slice of orange. Taste and adjust your ratios if needed. Enjoy and get ready to make more!