Long the secret of the Italians, it’s a ritual now followed widely across the world, which is why Aperol is one of the fastest-growing spirit brands internationally. From the Mediterranean to the Americas, Australia and Africa, the iconic orange drink is one of the most asked-for in cities, lodges and resorts.
Made from infusions of bitter and sweet oranges, rhubarb and a host of herbs and roots, it has a crisp citrus zestiness, balanced by warm, woody and herbal notes. With such a beguiling flavour profile, it has earned international currency as an aperitif, or to say it as Italians do, aperitivo, the drink you have before a meal to wake up your appetite.
Just add Aperol to bubbly with a splash of soda and you have Aperol Spritz, the brand’s signature cocktail and Italy’s favourite aperitivo.
Aperol spokesperson in South Africa Charlene Engels says: “The aperitivo ritual is very important to the Italians. It’s the time to take a break, when you can relax and relish life. Italians have taught the world that it’s a moment never to be rushed. In fact, the pleasure should be savoured and extended by enjoying your aperitivo with a few little antipasti, like olives, roasted nuts, cheese, slices of cured ham, sausage or salame, mini pizza slices or bruschetta.”
But why Aperol? Is it the sunset-coloured dazzle of rosy orange that promises instant refreshment? The beckoning jewel-like glow? The orange tang on the nose and the mouth buoyed by the bubbles in an Aperol Spritz that’s so compatible with salty snacks?
“It’s all these reasons and the luxury of its unique, very sophisticated flavour you can enjoy safely and responsibly, given its low alcohol content of just 11% by volume.”
To ensure the perfect Aperol Spritz, brand owner Campari Group has released into the local market, Cinzano Pro-Spritz, an aromatically fruity but dry Prosecco-style sparkling wine. The spumante’s fresh and lively mix of fruit, florals and fizz makes it the ideal partner to Aperol, she explains. Cinzano Pro-Spritz also forms part of Campari Group’s portfolio.
Pour 50ml Cinzano Pro-Spritz into an ice-filled glass. JUST ADD APEROL in equal measure and top off with a splash of soda. “It’s a very easy recipe to remember: 50/50 splash and garnish with a slice of orange. Bravissimo! That’s all it takes to let its tongue-tickling taste unfurl in your mouth.
“Bright and bracing, Aperol Spritz is a great socialiser and because it’s so versatile, it tastes a treat with almost any antipasti. Looking for a drink to pair with brunch? JUST ADD APEROL. It will transform the occasion.”
She says well-known local chef Mynhardt Joubert has created a special Mzanzi version of cured olives to complement Aperol. “Rooibos-smoked and preserved with sundried tomatoes, they’re very easy to make, so we’re happy to share the recipe.”
Ask for Aperol Spritz in leading bars, restaurants, hotels, clubs and licensed sidewalk cafés. If you are making an Aperol Spritz yourself, Aperol and Cinzano Pro-Spritz are stocked by the major retail liquor chains and specialty independent outlets.
It was one year shy of a century ago that the two super-smart Barbieri fratelli from Padua conjured up their secret Aperol aperitivo recipe. Brimming with orange and orange rind, herbal scents, notes of wood and a whisper of vanilla, its seductive and hard-to-pin-down taste wowed the world. And nothing’s changed. Not the way the two brothers made it back in 1919, nor its enduring popularity worldwide.
Aperol is priced around R229 per 750ml bottle, while Cinzano Pro-Spritz retails for about R95 per 750ml. Find Aperol at all major retailers, and for more recipes go to www.aperol.com. Follow Aperol on Twitter (@AperolSpritzSA), Facebook (@aperolspritz.sa), and Instagram (aperolspritzsa).