Tag Archives: Aperol cocktails

Drink of the Week: Aperol Spritz (à la Adriatic)

When I first wrote about this drink back in 2012 it wasn’t yet a thing. Now, the Aperol Spritz is having a moment, both here in Canada and across the pond in Italy, Slovenia and Croatia.

Cheers to Europe! Who knew the Aperol Spritz was so popular across the pond? I’m sipping this one outside the walls of Dubrovnik at cliffside bar Buza 1.

My husband and I have just returned from a trip to Europe, where we drank beer, wine and our share of Aperol Spritzes. I first spotted the gorgeous, topaz-hued drink in Venice, where happy-hour tipplers were getting their aperitif on at outdoor cafe-style bars (not that surprising, since Aperol, a bitter orange and herbal spirit, is made in Italy).

Just a couple glasses of Aperol awesomeness in Venice.

We travelled on to Slovenia, where prices on the cocktail dropped from 4 euros to 2.5 euros (woot!) at trendy patios along the Ljubljanica River in Ljubljana (try saying that fast five times in a row). Farther south in Croatia, in both Split and Dubrovnik, the drink was as hot as ever.

Nectar of the emperors? An Aperol Spritz inside Roman emperor Diocletian’s palace in Split, Croatia.

If you haven’t had one yet, you’ve got to try this drink. It’s so simple — really nothing more than sparkling white wine or Prosecco bitter oranged-up with Aperol, and diluted with a splash of sparkling water. It’s also refreshing, delicious and beautiful to behold. Drinking one on a Calgary patio — or next to the walls of Dubrovnik — will make you feel très chic all summer long.

Aperol Spritz (à la Adriatic)

  • 1.5 oz Aperol
  • 3-4 oz sparkling white wine or Prosecco
  • Splash sparkling water (not soda water!)
  • Garnish: half an orange wheel

Method: Build over ice in a wine glass and garnish with an orange wedge.

— Recipe courtesy the nice bartender at Buza 1 Bar, Dubrovnik

Drink of the Week: Paper Plane

This modern classic was created by New York-based bartender Sam Ross. These days, it’s rare to come up with a brand new cocktail that becomes so popular everyone starts putting it on their list, but that’s what’s happened with the Paper Plane.

Simple, balanced and delicious. The easy-to-execute Paper Plane is a must-duplicate at home.

Simple, balanced and delicious. The easy-to-execute Paper Plane is a must-duplicate at home. Photo courtesy Earls.67.

I discovered it at the new Earls.67 on Stephen Avenue. It’s a perfect transition drink for fall — the lime and Aperol are bright and sunny, while the bourbon and Amaro hint at cooler days.

I also like its simplicity. Like The Last Word and the Negroni, it’s a drink where you mix the ingredients in equal parts; so, it’s almost impossible to mess up — an important consideration if you’re shaking up more than two!

Paper Plane

  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz Aperol
  • 1 oz Nonino Amaro
  • 1 oz Buffalo Trace bourbon

Method: Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously. Fine strain into a coupe glass.

— Recipe courtesy Earls.67

Aperol Sour

I’ve been enjoying Aperol this summer. It’s a bitter orange Italian aperitif that is best known in the Aperol Spritz (Aperol floated in Prosecco). Since Aperol is a gorgeous red-orange colour, I thought it would be nice in a cocktail on Canada Day.

Last summer Cilantro made the most amazing No. 3 Aperol Sour, which I wrote about for Avenue Magazine. Using that recipe as a guide, I made what I’m calling just an Aperol Sour. It’s light, sweet, tart and slightly bitter, and the most amazing shade of red. Happy Canada Day!

Canada Day calls for a red and white cocktail. The Aperol Sour is perfect!

Canada Day calls for a red and white cocktail. The Aperol Sour is perfect!

Aperol Sour

  • 1 oz gin
  • 1 oz Aperol
  • 3/4 oz lemon-lime juice (fresh lemon and lime juice, combined)
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup (1:1 sugar to water)
  • 1/2 oz egg white
  • Garnish: 3 dashes Angostura bitters

Method: In a cocktail shaker combine gin, Aperol, citrus, syrup and egg white. Add ice and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Strain into a coupe and garnish with Angostura bitters. If you’re a pro, shape them into a maple leaf!

Tequila Negroni

Alas, Negroni week came and went in Calgary and I drank nary a one. But my success with the Smoky Hot Pepper Negroni earlier this spring inspired me to try a similar recipe with tequila.

I used Roca Patron Reposado as a base; it’s a smooth tequila with sweet notes of roasted agave. To that I added a bar spoon of agave nectar for sweetness, then used Aperol, which isn’t quite as bitter as Campari, along with La Quintinye Vermouth Royal. The end result is a spirit-forward cocktail that’s beautifully balanced between bitter, sweet and strong. It’s also super easy to make! My taster/hubby loved it and declared he would like a few this Father’s Day.

This Tequila Negroni is spirit forward -- perfect for Father's Day.

This Tequila Negroni is spirit forward — perfect for Father’s Day.

Tequila Negroni

  • 1 oz Roca Patron Reposado
  • 1 oz La Quintinye Vermouth Royale
  • 3/4 oz Aperol
  • 1 barspoon agave nectar
  • Garnish: Orange twist

Method: Combine ingredients in a mixing glass and add ice. Stir until the drink is well chilled, then strain into a rocks glass over a large cube of ice. Garnish with an orange twist.

Savoury cocktails for summer

Patio season has officially begun and cocktail lovers are looking for easy and delicious recipes for summer sipping. A huge trend this year is savoury cocktails — balanced drinks that go beyond fruity (and beyond that Canadian savoury stand-by, the Caesar) to incorporate herbal, vegetal, smoky or even salty flavours.

I appeared on CTV Calgary this morning to talk (and make) savoury cocktails that are crowd pleasers and super easy to execute. CTV host Aisling Tomei and I worked our way through a Smoky Hot Pepper Negroni with Campari, Cinzano Rosso and mezcal; a refreshing Amber Road with Aperol and Wild Turkey bourbon; and a beer cocktail featuring Innis & Gunn Lager.

Mixing savoury summer cocktails with Aisling Tomei. Her favourite was the Amber Road. Mine? The Smoky Hot Pepper Negroni!

Mixing savoury summer cocktails with Aisling Tomei. Her favourite was the Amber Road. Mine? The Smoky Hot Pepper Negroni!

I’ve included the recipes below. Enjoy!

Smoky Hot Pepper Negroni

Description: This savoury sipper is a twist on a classic Negroni, using smoky mezcal instead of gin, and adding a hit of habanero syrup for heat.

If you don’t want to make your own Negroni, check out Negroni Week in Calgary, happening June 6-12, where 28 Calgary bars are featuring the cocktail, and donating sales proceeds to the charity of their choice. It’s a great opportunity to drink for a cause!

This twist on a Negroni uses smoky mezcal, which stands up beautifully to the bitter Campari.

This twist on a Negroni uses smoky mezcal, which stands up beautifully to the bitter Campari.

Recipe:

  • 1 oz mezcal
  • 1 oz Cinzano Rosso sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 oz Campari
  • 1 tsp habanero simple syrup*
  • Garnish: Dried chili pepper

Method: In a mixing glass combine mezcal, Cinzano Rosso, Campari and habanaro simple syrup. Add ice and stir until drink is well chilled. Strain into a rocks glass over a large cube of ice, and garnish with a dried chili pepper.

*Habanero simple syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 habanero peppers, quartered

Method: Combine water and sugar in a saucepan and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add peppers and simmer for up to 10 minutes (periodically check syrup to see how spicy it’s becoming). When desired spiciness is reached, remove from heat and strain out peppers. Store the syrup in the fridge in a sealed container.

Amber Road

Description: Tart and slightly bitter. with natural sweetness from the bourbon and maple syrup, this light summer spritz is just the thing for those patio afternoons.

Long and fizzy, this twist on an Aperol spritz is delicious.

Long and fizzy, this twist on an Aperol spritz is delicious.

Recipe:

  • 1-1/2 oz Wild Turkey 81 Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon
  • 1 oz Aperol
  • 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz maple syrup
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • Top soda water
  • Garnish: Mint sprig

Method: Combine Wild Turkey, Aperol, lemon juice, maple syrup and Angostura bitters in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake, then strain into a tall glass filled with ice. Top with about 2 ounces of soda water and garnish with a mint sprig.

Salted Lager Scotch-tail

Description: A float of peated whisky stands up to this robust lager and —  along with the salted rim —  adds a layer of Scottish intrigue to this beer cocktail, while keeping it light and fresh for summer.

Beer cocktails and savoury cocktails like this one are on-trend. The Salted Innis & Gunn Scotch-tail is smoky, salty and refreshing.

Beer cocktails and savoury cocktails like this one are on-trend. The Salted Innis & Gunn Scotch-tail is smoky, salty and refreshing. Pair with peanuts.

Recipe:

  • 1/4 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz simple syrup (1:1 water-to-sugar ratio)
  • 250mL Innis & Gunn Lager
  • Float of peated whisky (about 1/4 to 1/2 oz, depending on desired smokiness)
  • Garnish: Lemon wheel

Method: Salt the rim of a rocks glass with Himalayan sea salt, then add a large sphere of ice. Build the drink in  the glass and garnish with a lemon wheel.

Drink of the Week: Sophia Loren Shim

The most popular cocktail post I’ve written is one from September 2012 that features an Aperol Spritz. I didn’t know it at the time, but Aperol and other lower-proof spirits and fortified wines, such as sloe gin, Campari, sherry and vermouth, are at the forefront of a new trend: low-alcohol cocktails. I’ve written all about it for this month’s Calgary Herald column, running Saturday.

The obvious question becomes: are they any good? Or does mixing drinks with liqueurs and spirits that clock in at lower than 40 percent alcohol by volume render them the near-beer equivalents of the cocktail world? Hardly. I sampled some while doing “research” for my story and they are just as tasty as their boozier brethren. Bonus: you can drink more of them before your evening goes sideways.

This gorgeous and delicious drink only contains the amount of alcohol in one 12-oz beer.

This gorgeous drink, called a Sophia Loren Shim, only contains the amount of alcohol in one 12-oz beer.

Here’s a tart and delicious one worth trying from Art of the Shim: Low-Alcohol Cocktails to keep you level, by Dinah Sanders.

Sophia Loren Shim

  • 2 oz Aperol
  • 1 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz bourbon (to qualify as low-alcohol a drink cannot contain more than 1/2 oz of an 80-proof or higher spirit)
  • 4 dashes rhubarb bitters

Method: Chill an old fashioned glass. Shake ingredients with ice, then pour without straining into glass. Garnish with two lemon peels rolled together to create a flower.

— Recipe created by Kim Roselle at Flora and Fauna, Oakland, Calif., 2012