There are a lot of things to mourn when summer comes to an end. Fresh, ripe berries and melons disappear from market shelves. Swimming pools lock up their front gates for a long, slow hibernation. And suddenly everyone forgets about the gloriously simple and refreshing Aperol Spritz.
In order to keep the spirit of the Aperol Spritz alive through the cold weather transition, I wanted come up with a fall-friendly version. Having recently finished off the bottle of Aperol I had at home, I headed to my corner Italian specialty shop to grab another one. When I asked for a bottle, the cashier smiled and countered, ”do you want something better?”
After he explained that Aperol had recently started watering down their recipe and using bogus additives to retain consistency, I was easily sold on a bottle of a smaller batch and 100% natural red Italian bitter called Caffo – the namesake and star of our Caffo Spritz.
Don’t worry if you can’t find a bottle of Caffo. Aperol or any other bitter liqueur of your choice (Ramazotti, Campari, surprise artisinal Italian bitters that I don’t know about yet, etc.) will work fine. Just be aware that Aperol is way sweeter than most bitters, so you may need to dial down your pour or add more bubbles.
The earl grey infused sweet vermouth is very easy to make. Just add about 1 tablespoon of loose leaf tea or 1 tea bag for each 4 cl / 1½ oz of vermouth. Let sit for 20 minutes. Strain out the tea leaves and it’s ready to go. I did a batch in mason jar with about 6 tablespoons of tea and it was perfect. I used a mild white earl grey tea, but you could surely substitute regular earl grey or even another flavor of herbal tea. Just taste it every five minutes to make sure the infusion doesn’t get too strong.
There is a lot of room for experimentation with this spritz. As with all recipes, feel free to swap out one or two of the ingredients to make it your own.
- 2 cl Caffo Bitter Red (or Aperol, Campari, etc.)
- 3 cl Earl grey infused sweet vermouth
- 1 cl Cherry Heering
- 9 cl Prosecco or other bubbly
- 3 cl Sparkling water (adjust amount to your taste)
- ⅔ oz Caffo Bitter Red (or Aperol, Campari, etc.)
- 1 oz Earl grey infused sweet vermouth
- ⅓ oz Cherry Heering
- 3 oz Prosecco or other bubbly
- 1 oz Sparkling water (adjust amount to your taste)
- Pour all ingredients directly over lots of ice in a large glass
- Squeeze + drop in one nice slice of orange
- Top with bubbles and soda water
- Give it a quick stir to bring all the ingredients together
- Add more prosecco or sparkling water if it’s too strong