I was in Italy last year. It was a spur of the moment, run away from reality, throw yourself into life kind of trip. Change was happening and life was full of possibility. So, obviously, I wanted to go somewhere to properly experience the feeling. Since Italy is my happy place, off we went.
The boyfriend (J) and I started in Bologna. Land of ragu. We expected to drown ourselves in olive oil and local wine, indulge in far too much fresh pasta, and knock back rich, bitter espresso when we got footsore.
What we did not expect was… the Aperol spritz. Having now imbibed more Aperol spritzes than I care to mention, I can tell you that the drink tastes like warm summer evenings and destination-less strolling through cobbled streets, ducking into monasteries to escape sudden rain storms and sauntering through luxury hotels and pretending I belonged. But most of all, every time I drink one, I feel happy. It’s a kind of deep breath, light-hearted happy. And I thoroughly recommend it.
But before I tried one it was just a violently orange drink I saw people drinking in the early evening in Bologna while nibbling snacks. Intriguing, yes, but that’s about it.
But there are few drinks I won’t try, especially if they come with snacks. So onwards the adventure went. However, to be totally honest with you, dear reader, there is one drink that continues to elude me – Pimms. Surprising, I know (I’ve been told by, well, everyone I know that I’m wrong). This is, after all, a drink where the snacks have jumped the gun and got freaky with the drink, thereby removing the need for me to choose between what to put in my mouth first; it all goes in. And yet (and apologies in advance to Pimms-loving readers) all I see is brown stuff thinned out by bubbly, sickly lemonade, swirled around with fruit and assorted chunks of veg… It’s not for me.
Now, as an English woman, I feel at this point like I’m going to be asked to surrender my umbrella and my Mary Poppins-esque commuter handbag and be marched to Calais to be pushed out to sea; I may as well have just mooned the Union Jack. But there we have it. As we’re now firmly in the English-pretending-its-summer-even-though-it’s-cold-and-raining part of the year, I suspect I will go through the usual dance of “No, I won’t have one – really, no, thank you” and have to explain, yet again, that I DO NOT LIKE PIMMS. Even to friends who have known me for years (YEARS) and who have never seen me touch the stuff. I almost feel bad now… They all look so hurt and surprised at my Pimms-less existence. But you know what? This year I may take a new tact. I’ll just bite the bullet and drink all the Pimms. HA! Now no one can have any. Conversation over, bitches.
But I digress.
Those first Aperol spritzes arrived at our table, which was wobbling merrily on the cobbles, with a jaunty straw, plus a plate for nibbles, and… BAM. The holiday immediately got bumped up to stratospheric levels of awesome.
I’d go on, but there’s so much more to be said on the Aperol spritz, so much in fact that I’ll keep this brief in hopes that you bear with me in future. So, without further ado – here’s how you make an Aperol spritz (and if you don’t believe me, you’ll notice that this is the exact same recipe written on your brand new bottle of Aperol):
3 parts prosecco
2 parts Aperol
1 parts soda water
Slice of orange
Plenty of ice
Combine, enjoy, and thank me later.
Quick word on the “parts” bit of the above – can be as simple as a shot glass or, if you’re having a hard core day, espresso cup measures. Personally, I have a giant wine glass, graciously bestowed on me by my little brother, which I am itching to try out; it’s bigger than my head. I would use a measuring jug to measure out the “parts” for that glass.