Discover more from Lazy fancy by Olivia Muniak
Top five cocktails for summer
and the spirits that I stock my bar with.
Aperitivo is a verb in my book.
Traveling through great cities in Europe – Rome, Madrid and Paris they all have their own version of this transitionary time of day, signaling the end of the work day and a time to gather with friends before dinner. Arguably it’s defined by the wine & spirits and classic cocktails designed to whet the palette before dinner. But for me it’s the ritual of Aperitivo hour that I love more than the mouthwatering cocktails. Drinks are typically served with an assortment of salty snacks (and included with the price of your drink).
“Aperi-Cena” has really become a thing in Italy, when the spreads of regional dishes become so grand it might as well be dinner, this started in Milan and has gained understandable popularity. In Italy a Negroni or Americano are probably the most recognizable cocktails. Then while in Madrid, jamon is always served whether you ordered it or not, and you’ll sip on Vermouth and Sherry. In Paris, Champagne and Kir or Kir Royale is not be missed.
The social aspect of Aperitivo Hour is what hooks me, a continent wide time of day designated for conversation and connection – friends, family, everyone is invited.
Seriously, what’s not to love.
P.S. I often host Aperitivo hour for a party of one because I’m a fan of my own company.
We could call it a Campari & Soda but Campari is not my first pick, so I call it an Americano-ish. An Americano is a classic cocktail made from Bitter Americano/Aperitivo, Sweet Vermouth and Soda. I call this recipe Americano-ish because I skip the sweet vermouth and just go for the distinctly bitter and bright red Bitter Americano or Aperitivo (everyone has a different name for it but it’s most recognizably known as Campari)
Soda: Fever Tree Club Soda, Found Bubbly, Topo Chico
6oz Bitter Americano (3oz each)
2oz chilled soda water (2oz each)
4 green olive
In a rocks glass pour the Bitter Americano over ice (preferably standard cubes, not a large single cube) top with soda water. Slice the orange into wedges. Squeeze one wedge into the cocktail and gently stir. Garnish with a second orange wedge and two green olives.
2. Bianco Negroni
If you’ve been following my Instagram for some time you might of heard me wax on about how much I love this drink. It quenches my thirst every time and I’m known to practice my tourist level French, Spanish and Italian with bartenders to sip on one. But luckily if you’re in America finding these specialty spirits is much easier than abroad.
These are my top picks to make this cocktail with. Each result in a unique flavor profile but have the signature citrusy and herbaceous notes this drink is known for.
This “Blond Negroni kit” looks delicious and a great host(ess) gift!
1oz Bianco Americano/Aperitivo
1oz Bianco Vermouth
2 grapefruit peels (lemon also works)
In a cocktail mixer pour all the liquids over ice, stir to dilute, allow to rest for 1-2 minutes. Pour into a rocks glass over a large single cube. Garnish with a fresh grapefruit peel, or lemon peel.
3. Bianco Spritz
A lighter effervescent version of the Bianco Negroni (less of a stiff drink) and a crowd pleaser for all you Aperol Spritz fans.
This Bianco Spritz kit is delicious, and was featured on my IG.
4oz Bianco Americano/Aperitivo
6oz Prosecco or sparkling wine
2oz chilled soda water
Rosemary sprigs, lemon slice & green olive
In a wine glass pour the liquids over the ice cubes, give a gentle stir, and garnish with rosemary sprig, lemon slice and green olive.
4. Cherry Shrub Margarita Pitcher
If you ever wondered how to bottle summer, this is how. A shrub is a traditional Southern drink made from equal parts preserved fruit, sugar and vinegar. It’s served over sparkling water and is truly the most refreshing drink. I love to have this on the bar for my teetotal (non-drinkers) guests, and adding a shot of tequila, mezcal (or any spirit) turns this friendly drink into a cocktail. This can be replicated with any summer fruit and works particularly well with pitted fruits.
Disclaimer: I use the lazy method of making a shrub, both methods broken down in this article.
1c pitted red cherries
1c granulated sugar
1c apple cider vinegar
1tbsp freshly grated ginger
Pit the cherries and roughly chop, and place into a small bowl then grate the ginger in. In a medium saucepan make a simple syrup 1c water to 1c granulated sugar, once dissolved. Add the cherry-ginger mix into the simple syrup and turn the heat to medium-high. Once the mixture is bubbling reduce it until the mixture had thickened and sticks to the back of the wooden spoon. Remove from heat and strain the liquid from lumps of fruit into a glass carafe. Pour in the vinegar.
To make the Margarita
3c Mezcal or Tequila
1c Cherry Shrub
1 liter or six pack of chilled soda water
2 limes, cut into wedges
Pour the shrub and spirit into a pitcher and set on the bar for individual self-service.
Pour 4-6oz of the mixture into a glass over ice and top with soda water and a squeeze of lime.
5. California Espresso Martini
Espresso Martinis are usually made with vodka, but I despise vodka and love tequila. We’re big fans of it here in The State of California, so we’re shaking things up (literally and figuratively) by using Mezcal or Tequila. Don’t know the difference, just think about Champagne. All Champages are sparkling wines, but not all sparkling wines are Champagne. Tequila can only be made from the blue agave piña. Therefore, all tequilas are mezcals, but not all mezcals are tequila. Mezcals taste smokier than tequila so take that into consideration when determining your spirit of choice.
Tequila: Codigo 1530 Blanco
California Espresso Martini
3oz Tequila or Mezcal
2oz Coffee Liqueur
2oz Cold Brew
.5 oz Agave
Pour all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker, add ice, and shake vigorously. Serve in a chilled coupe.
These are some of the best sources I have found that have curated unique selections from craft distillers and wine makers making wines & spirits the old world way. This is where I shop whether online or in store. They are friendly and so happy to help you set you create your home bar and select wines. Consider supporting these small business before going to Total-Wine, Bev-Mo and other big retailers (did my best to not link to them but alas, some are)
*I have no affiliate connection or commission with any of the products or items linked in this article.
Thanks for reading Lazy fancy by Olivia Muniak! Subscribe for free and support my work.