Hot Days—Cool Drinks

After lunch at Recafé (pizza with speck and mozzarella—yum!—number 4 on my list) and a long, hot, fun walk in the neighborhood near the Spanish Steps yesterday, Michael and I headed home. It was toasty, so we decided to stop in Campo de’ Fiori for a cold drink. I ordered caffe latte fredo (iced latte), Michael chose sparkling wine, and we shared a large bottle of still water. Ahhhhhh! We then settled down to watch the activities in the plaza.

Aperol Spritz

We were paying for our drinks when Michael noticed that many of the bar’s patrons were sipping a brilliant orange-colored drink with lots of ice and a slice of orange. We asked our server what it was, and she replied, “Spritz Aperol—very refreshing.” We asked what was in it, and she told us it was Aperol, prosecco, and a splash of soda or seltzer. We said, “Bring it on!” and she did. Perfetto!

The Barbieri Brothers in Padua introduced Aperol as an aperitif in 1919. Both bitter and sweet and with a low alcohol content of only 11 percent, it can be mixed into many drinks, although Aperol Spritz is the favorite, especially in Northern Italy.

If you can find a bottle in your local liquor store, make this orange-flavored recipe in a stemmed white wine glass, sit back, say ahhhhh, and celebrate the end of summer.

Aperol Spritz

2 to 3 ounces of prosecco or any sparkling wine

1-1/2 ounces of Aperol

A splash of soda water or seltzer

A slice of orange

Lots of ice

Sgroppino al Limone

Michael had another fabulous drink for dessert the first week we arrived in Rome: sgroppino al limone. Also from Northern Italy (gotta love those folks!), sgroppino is cool and frothy and perfect for sipping in hot weather. Here’s a recipe from whatscookinginamerica:

2 cups of softened lemon sorbet or gelato

2 tablespoons of vodka

1/3 cup of sparkling wine or prosecco

Zest of one lemon

In a bowl, whisk the sorbet until smooth. Gradually (and quickly) whisk in the vodka and sparkling wine BY HAND. If you use a blender, you will melt the ingredients. Serve immediately in chilled champagne flutes, tall glasses, or goblets, and sprinkle lemon zest on top. Sgroppino will separate if left standing. Makes four servings.

Sanbittèr Rosso

Sanbittèr Rosso woman

Sanbittèr Rosso

My favorite drink, however, is one I’ve never tasted. I was having a cappuccino at the bar on Piazza Farnese one morning last week when I spotted a fascinating older woman at the table in front of me. She was drinking a bright red drink (without ice); “working” a crossword puzzle, although I didn’t see her enter even one letter; smoking a cigarette; eating olives; and talking on her cell phone. If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I find the smallest things hugely entertaining, and I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. I thought the drink might be Campari, but my server said it was Sanbittèr Rosso, a nonalcoholic drink made by San Pellegrino. Apparently it has a light, bitter taste, and I’ll try it next time I visit the bar. If I like it, I’ll let you know.


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5 Responses to Hot Days—Cool Drinks

  1. Chris Windheuser says:

    You should also try my favorite Italian soda – San Pelligrino “Chino” which comes in a black colored can. It’s flavored with “chinnoto” which is some kind of citrus but tastes like an herbal liquor without alcohol. San Pelligrino also seems to make a Sanbittèr (bitters) flavor.

    • Karen Eggert says:

      Where do you find these? Bar, Trader Joes?

      • skdyer7 says:

        A voice from the distant past! Hi, Karen! It’s so good to hear from you!!!

        In Italy you can find them in grocery stores. They’re nonalcoholic, so you might find them in grocery stores in the US as well. I simply don’t know. I didn’t know they existed before now, so I wasn’t looking for them. Let me know if (where) you find them.

  2. Karen Eggert says:

    And you take her photo? Didn’t she notice ? You must be rather sly with that camera.

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