May 25, 2010
This past week was finals week at school, the second worst week of the semester. The hands down worst being the week that classes start up again after a break. Don't get me wrong, I like being back in school and this past semester wouldn't qualify as a tough one in anybody's book, but I'm glad to have washed my hands of it. To be free from school, at least until the summer session starts back up in a few weeks. So in honor of being done with classes and also because it was such a gorgeous day, I made this Aperol cocktail last Thursday. I've actually been holding on to this bottle of Aperol since last summer when it was gifted to me for my birthday. Have you heard of this Italian aperitivo? It's fantastic - like Campari's kid sister - just a little brighter, a little orangier and a little less bitter. It's the bitter that keeps you interested sip after sip and before you know it, your drink has disappeared. Aperol is warm summer evenings sitting on a porch, watching the sun set, it's bar-b-ques and finding relief from the hot hot sun under the shade of a tree.
Anyhow, back to this bottle that I've been hanging onto for the past 9 months. Originally I had intentions of drinking it mixed with prosecco, but for some reason it never happened. And then it cooled down and it didn't seem like the appropriate weather to enjoy my Aperol and prosecco. Fast forward to last week when Alice Q Foodie mentioned Aperol cocktails in her "Ten Things I'm Excited About This Summer" list (oh, I'm such a sucker for lists!) and a subsequent email from Tasting Table featuring cocktails inspired by the Negroni and boom, I'm inspiration! So I began my internet scouring for related recipes and lo and behold I found this gem from the famed Pegu Club in Manhattan. I've never been to Pegu Club, nor I have I even been to NYC, but this cocktail called to me. Similar to the Negroni it replaces the Campari with Aperol and the sweet vermouth with lemon juice and simple syrup and keeps the gin. I've read that at the bar they garnish the drink with an orange peel that's been flamed, but I'm not that fancy and simply used an orange twist. It really is a perfect summertime cocktail.
Intro to Aperol
from Pegu Club in NYC
2 ounces Aperol
1 ounce gin
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 ounce simple syrup**
dash of Angostura bitter
twist of orange peel, for garnish
Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add the Aperol, gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and bitters. Shake well, then strain into a chilled martini glass. Twist the orange peel over the drink to release its oils, then drop it into the glass.
**To make simple syrup, combine 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a slow rolling boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer to a heatproof container and let cool to room temperature. Cover tightly, and refrigerate until chilled through; store indefinitely.