In contrast to the Wall Street Journal’s burger story last weekend, which made me crave an all-American treat that I probably can’t get my hands on for several weeks, the paper's recent article about “sophisticated summer cocktails” told the story of the European-style aperitifs that I am happily sipping here in Vienna, Austria.
Readers of this blog already know all about Aperol, the Italian aperitif that’s made from rhubarb, gentian flowers, bitter orange and tree bark. I’m crazy about the stuff which I discovered years ago while hiking in Italy’s Dolomite mountains. The Aperol Spritz -- club soda and Prosecco with a splash of rosy Aperol -- is popular with Italians and Austrians who even sip it mid-morning at the cafes surrounding the open-air markets here.
The WSJ article also raves about St-Germain, a trendy French liqueur made from Alpine elderflower blossoms that “tastes somewhere between pear, lemon, grapefruit, passion fruit…and heaven.”
Both aperitifs pack a lot of flavor into a few precious drops, which means the resulting “cocktails” are light, refreshing and low in alcohol, which means, in turn, you can drink more of them! (For even lower alcohol, skip the Prosecco and use just sparkling water or a flavored San Pellegrino water.)
Just grab a bottle of either, pour about a teaspoon into a stemmed glass, add a splash of Prosecco or other sparkling wine, plenty of sparkling water, and, as the Journal says, “…presto, you've fixed yourself one of the easiest, continentally suave summer drinks one can whip up in less time than it takes to remember Berlusconi's first name. (It's Silvio.)"
Don’t miss the WSJ story. You’ll love the recipes.