There is possibly no greater skill than that of mastering the Italian aperitivo. Ok, that's an exaggeration but really there are few things more enjoyable. And nothing makes me think of Italy quite like the happy hour. Even at 12, on my first trip there, I took to aperitivo because so many places serve patatine (potato chips) and, anytime there are free potato chips, I'm there. Once I got older, I moved on to chilled glasses of Prosecco because, when it's hot and humid in the midst of the summer, what could be better, right? Well, a handful of years ago, I found the answer: the Aperol Spritz.
The Spritz is a cocktail you find served throughout the Northeast part of Italy, with variations from Padua to Venice. But, at it's most simple it's some sort of white wine -- sometimes sparkling, other times not -- mixed with an Italian bitter aperitivo such as Campari, Aperol, or even Cynar. Because Aperol is a little lighter on the bitterness than the other two alcohols and it has a hint of rhubarb and citrus flavor, it's pretty perfect for a happy hour drink. But I'll let you judge that for yourself -- just be sure you still include your favorite potato chip or it just isn't the same.
Combine prosecco and Aperol in a wine glass, add a few ice cubes, and top with club soda.
Food styling and photography by Aida Mollenkamp