Introducing the Aperol spritz, the feel-good hit of the summer.
When we planned this recipe and took the photo, I was hoping to play a kind of John the Baptist of cocktails. "It's coming! It's going to be the drink of the summer! I can exclusively reveal to you, loyal reader, the Aperol spritz. Tah dah!"
But as I was cycling home today, I read a tweet on my phone (sorry officer) from my friend Jonathan Downey, who runs some of the best bars in London: "Aperol spritz - outside in the sun." Then I turned into Hackney Road and saw an enormous billboard promising: "APEROL SPRITZ".
For those of you who haven't yet come across it, Aperol spritz is a classic cocktail that started creeping back into fashion last summer. Hackney hipsters in top hats and lion-tamer moustaches could be found drinking it instead of Pimms or rosé. It is lowish in alcohol, refreshing, great tasting (a bit like Pimms), but bitter-sweet like Campari. And it comes in a beautiful Italian bottle.
I live in Hackney, so I notice these things. I was going to tell the rest of you about it. Break the news. Be THE MAN. I got home and I look on the Aperol spritz website (it has a website now) and it's all mainstream sexy women in orange bikinis springing into the air clutching an Aperol spritz. I ring Jonathan. "What on earth can I say about Aperol spritz that people don't know already," I ask. "The Guardian are going to want my head on a plate."
"It's had its revival because it's a refreshing and low-alcohol aperitif. In fact, it's so refreshing, it almost feels healthy to drink - like an isotonic," he says. "But it's actually really good if you add 25ml of gin. You know. For the older drinker."
So there you go. Aperol spritz. For the older drinker. You heard it here first. Sort of.
Make your own aperol spritz
A handful of ice cubes
25ml gin (optional)
A splash of soda water
1 slice of orange
1 Add lots of ice to a large white wine glass. Pour over the Aperol, followed by the Prosecco and gin (if using).
2 Stir once and finish the drink with a splash of soda water and a slice of orange.
Worst-kept secret: an Aperol spritz. Photograph: Jill Mead for the Guardian