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An Ode to the Aperol Spritz

Aperol Spritz Bologna 2

Bologna, Italy

It’s been a terrible summer in London, weather-wise. I know, I know, you’re probably thinking – it always rains in London, right? But no. I’ve had beautiful, sunny days here, warm, lazy evenings that make the sky blush pink and gold. Recently, days in London are all white skies and the promise of drizzle, a feeling that summer is always a few degrees out of reach.

But I’ve been lucky this summer, too, because it’s been a summer of near constant travel, more-so than usual for me. If we count May, I’ve visited Italy twice (Bologna and Cinque Terre), Spain (to Mallorca, where I stayed in a villa with my mum for a week), Sweden (for a travel blogging conference), and Prague (for a weekend holiday with a friend). I also have a weekend in Brighton coming up, as well as a few days in Paris at the end of the month. It’s been a spectacular string of travels, and I’ve loved every minute.

And, oh yeah, I also fell in love with a drink.

Aperol Spritz Venice

Venice, Italy

I don’t remember the first time I had an Aperol Spritz, but suddenly, out of nowhere, it has become my favourite summer drink. It coincides with my equally sudden and slightly obsessive love of Italy, which, of course, goes hand in hand – Aperol is an Italian aperitif (meaning it is a drink usually served before a meal, and is often served with small snacks like olives or nuts). First introduced in 1919, it didn’t become popular until after World War II, but now it’s one of the most common aperitifs in Italy. Aperol is known for its bright orange colour and its unique taste, a mixture of bitter oranges, sweet oranges, rhubarb, and a bunch of herbs I’ve never heard of before. Not very strong in alcohol content on its own, it is mixed with Prosecco and soda to make an Aperol Spritz.

Aperol Spritz Prague

Prague, Czech Republic

I openly discuss my love of whisky, wine, and various other libations on this blog, and I find pubs and bars to be some of the greatest places to meet local people while travelling (or to do some serious people-watching). On my first trip to Italy this year, in April, I sat on an outdoor patio in Portovenere with an Aperol Spritz in hand, just watching the world go by. And then, in Venice, when I was feeling lonely and letdown (by an Italian, not by Italy… big difference), I had an Aperol Spritz in St. Mark’s Square, the sunshine and the cocktail working their magic to make me feel better. In Bologna, with new friends, we clinked our glasses to celebrate a good day of sightseeing. In Mallorca, by the pool, my mum and I sipped on spritzes while reading and doing crosswords. In Prague, as fireworks filled the air for no determinable reason other than sometimes life is great, my friend Jen and I shared not one but three Aperol Spritzes, our stories and laughter taking us well into the night. I’ve even found a few good ones in London.

Aperol Spritz Mallorca

Mallorca, Spain

Aperol Spritz Broadway Market

London, England

Sometimes, there’s a song or a dress or a drink that instantly take you back to a place and a time in your life. I think I’ll forever remember the summer of 2016 as the summer of the Aperol Spritz.

How to make the perfect Aperol Spritz:

-get a large tumbler or white wine glass (they’re often served in “balloon” wine glasses) and fill it about halfway with ice

-add three parts (approximately 75ml) of Prosecco

-add two parts (approximately 50ml) of Aperol

-add a splash of soda (approximately 25ml)

-stir

-garnish with a slice of orange, and if you’re feeling particularly Italian, with a green olive

-enjoy!

Aperol Spritz Monterosso

Monterosso, Italy

Aperol Spritz Brenna

Prague, Czech Republic

Have you ever had an Aperol Spritz? Do you like them?

You might also like An Ode to a Sandwich, Around the World: Beer (because it’s not just Aperol I love), and Around the World: Schweppes Limon (because it’s not just alcohol that I love).

Please note: this post is not sponsored by Aperol in any way – I just really do love the drink. But hey, Aperol, if you’re reading this, I’ll happily take a bottle or two. 

26 Responses to An Ode to the Aperol Spritz

  1. Marie @ To Europe And Beyond August 3, 2016 at 4:14 pm #

    Aperol spritz is the best! My life hasn’t been the same since I first had one.

    • Brenna Holeman August 3, 2016 at 4:51 pm #

      I know – so good! We should find some in London together. 🙂

  2. Lillian August 3, 2016 at 4:30 pm #

    We got addicted to these when we first went to Italy. It just says summer doesn’t it. Have you tried Hugo Spritzes… they are like a cousin to the Aperol Spritz. I had considered going to the the TBEX in Sweden but we had to move right around that time …looking forward to reading about your experience there.

    • Brenna Holeman August 3, 2016 at 4:52 pm #

      Oh wow, I need to have one of those! Thanks for the comment, Lillian. 🙂

  3. Christine August 3, 2016 at 5:27 pm #

    It’s my new go to drink as well! I tried in Rome and fell in love with it. I make it at home now. I sometimes make it with Campari.

    • Brenna Holeman August 3, 2016 at 5:29 pm #

      Yes, I’ve been making it at home, too! So good. 🙂

  4. Leah August 3, 2016 at 6:00 pm #

    Aperol Spritz is amazing!!!

    I first tried one last year in Florence and now I make them at home all the time, although sometimes for that extra kick I forget to add the soda water :p

    • Brenna Holeman August 4, 2016 at 12:11 am #

      Ha ha – I also sometimes “forget” to add the soda…

  5. Sarah August 3, 2016 at 7:03 pm #

    I had my first aperol spritz in Venice and don’t think I’ll ever forget it!!!

    • Brenna Holeman August 4, 2016 at 12:09 am #

      Such a great place to have your first!

  6. Marlee August 3, 2016 at 7:57 pm #

    My drink of choice for something a little special has become sparkling wine – it’s always delicious, especially on a summer day and makes you feel like you’re really treating yourself.

    • Brenna Holeman August 4, 2016 at 12:10 am #

      Mmmm… that sounds like a great summer option!

  7. Katie August 4, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

    I, too, fell in love with the aperitif while in Italy. My friends think I’m nuts because I’ll have them over for drinks and little nibbles like you mentioned before we cook or go out, usually Prosecco if I’m feeling the Italy love, or maybe Lillet if I’m getting more of a French vibe. Gin and tonics for those who are completely like, wtf. You’re right, though — the Aperol spritz is great and I really should start making that with my Prosecco. There are some fun drinks to make with Lillet as well!

    I actually read something really lovely the other day about aperitifs (wish I could remember where). But it said something to the effect of, “They say the purpose of an aperitif is to whet the appetite for the meal to come. But obviously, in a culture so enamored with food, where a multi-course meal is standard, it seems a little silly to prep with *more* food and drink. The real purpose of of an aperitif is to announce your intention to make an event of the meal — to say, ‘I am not in a rush, I will enjoy this food and this company, and this moment.'”

    • Brenna Holeman August 4, 2016 at 3:42 pm #

      That’s such a lovely sentiment… thank you for sharing! I totally agree, and I think it’s why I’ve fallen so hard for Italy recently… I love that idea of just slowing down, of just enjoying every sip and every bite. Thanks again, Katie!

  8. Ruth August 4, 2016 at 3:34 pm #

    This post made me smile, as I had my first ever Aperol Spritz last week (with an Italian) and after so much hype.. I didn’t like it. 🙁 I felt like I let my companion down quite a lot, but i just couldn’t fake it!

    • Brenna Holeman August 4, 2016 at 3:41 pm #

      Oh no!! Ah well… I guess that’s why we all have different tastes. I hope you found another aperitif that suits you better. 🙂

  9. Danny August 4, 2016 at 6:31 pm #

    I tried my first Aperol spritz three years ago, and I’ll be honest – the bitterness and unique taste didn’t immediately win me over. I actually completely forgot about the drink until this May, when I was in Milan and kept seeing it at restaurants. I decided to give it another try, and now, well, I love it!

    • Brenna Holeman August 5, 2016 at 12:12 pm #

      I’m glad that you like it – it’s such a fun, refreshing drink to have in Italy!

  10. LC August 4, 2016 at 10:29 pm #

    I’ve been seeing those advertised all over London, yet haven’t taken the plunge yet… on the other hand, have spent the summer drinking litres of Prosecco. Perhaps it’s time to finally branch out!

    • Brenna Holeman August 5, 2016 at 12:13 pm #

      Yes!! You should try it. 🙂

  11. Amanda | Chasing My Sunshine August 5, 2016 at 2:43 am #

    It’s so funny you write a post on the Aperol Spritz – I just had my first one the other day! It was in Philadelphia, but I’ll take it. I saw on the menu it was the “official” drink of Italy and I was feeling nostalgic, so I went for it. You know…I bet it would taste absolutely fabulous with olives. 🙂 Isn’t it funny how drinks can transport you away?

    • Brenna Holeman August 5, 2016 at 12:13 pm #

      That is funny! I’m glad that you liked it… and yes, I love it with olives. I love how food and drink can instantly take you to another time or place…

  12. Zalie August 10, 2016 at 12:33 am #

    I had never actually had an Aperol Spritz until a few weeks ago and my first tasting was completely inspired by you! They really are the most perfect summer drink 🙂

    • Brenna Holeman August 10, 2016 at 10:48 am #

      They’re so good! I hope we get to drink some together soon 🙂

  13. Sarah August 28, 2016 at 2:10 pm #

    I love them too!
    Check out my facebook post on 18 August

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