Top off any spirit or aperitif with sparkling wine, a splash of soda water and a piece of fruit and you’ve immediately got an easy summer thirst-quencher, perfect for day drinking in the garden with the barbecue blazing and your friends around you.
These recipes use bitters; alcoholic liquids made with aromatic herbs, barks, roots and fruits. Historically, bitters were known for their medicinal properties but nowadays we use them to create deliciously refreshing cocktails!
Although it’s become very trendy over the past couple of years, Aperol has actually been around since 1919, when it was created in Padova, Italy, by the Barbieri brothers as an aperitif to a secret recipe that remains unchanged to this day. It is bright orange in colour and has a distinctly bitter orange and rhubarb taste. It’s also only 11% alcohol.
To make an Aperol spritz, fill a glass with ice, pour three parts prosecco then two parts Aperol into a glass and top with a dash of soda water. Stir and garnish with a fresh orange slice.
Cointreau is an orange-flavoured liqueur which was created in 1849 by Adolphe Cointreau, a confectioner, and his brother, Edouard-Jean Cointreau. Like Aperol, the recipe is a family secret and it is still produced using century-old methods to capture the intense aromas from sweet and bitter orange peels.
To make a Cointreau fizz, fill a short tumbler with a couple of blood orange slices, mix 25ml Cointreau with the juice of a blood orange in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Pour the mix through a strainer into the glass and follow with a shot of prosecco, a dash of soda water and sprig of fresh mint.
Cynar is a bitter, brown Italian liqueur made from… wait for it…. artichokes! It was launched in Italy in 1952 and is made from 13 herbs and plants, the most predominant being the artichoke. Sweet, citrusy grapefruit pairs well with the herbaceous taste of Cynar.
To make a Cynar spritz, fill a glass with ice cubes and add two parts Cynar, three parts Prosecco and a splash of grapefruit-flavoured soda. Garnish with some grapefruit zest.
Campari orange fizz
Campari was invented in 1860 by Gaspare Campari in Novara, Italy with the first production plant opening in 1904 near Milan. It’s often thought of as the predecessor of Aperol, although Aperol is less bitter in taste and has a lower alcohol content.
To make a Campari orange fizz, fill a tall glass with ice and add one part Campari, one part orange juice and two parts prosecco and a dash of soda. Stir and garnish with an orange slice.