Sunday, February 3, 2019

Aperol Spritz

Despite my predilection for liquid and botanical alchemy, I am not a day drinker. Alcohol in the middle of the day cuts my legs, as the Frenchman would say, and makes me lethargic. And I hate taking naps. But when I left Cape Town many years ago, the household tradition embraced wine in the middle of the day, with lunch. It was a habit that took years for me to shake. It be shaken, now, with a cocktail in the evening and glass of wine with dinner. So when I return to the domestic stomping grounds I tend to get funny looks when I wave away the proffered bottle at lunch. But because the home tradition lives sturdily on, I adjust in order to be companionable and not the freak daytime tee-totaler. And I drink my body weight in water.

Still, the lighter, the better.

While I have the tendencies of an alchemist - brewing vermouth, waiting for vinegars to form from fermented cordials, infusing hooch with wild fruits and herbs, mixing up new cocktails - sometimes, the pouring of a classic is a quiet relief. Enter the Aperol Spritz.

It was a new drink for my mom on a balmy, blue-sky, Cape Town Sunday. The bitterness in Aperol comes from quinine, derived from a species of Cinchona. It is low in alcohol, and dashed into sparkling wine (traditionally prosecco, although here we used Graham Beck Brut - a sparkling wine made from a pinot noir-chardonnay blend, like Champagne). With a squirt of sparkling water, it is a wonderful drink - no invention required.

And no nap required.



  1. Wish i could catch your love of alchemy. When i read your instructions it sounds so wonderful, but somehow i never manage to get the ingredients together. Too lazy for science!

  2. Hi - the bitterness also comes from gentian (Gentiana lutea), and some gentians contain extremely bitter compounds. /Lena

  3. i wish i could write like you. sorry about your dad.


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