How to celebrate National Spritz Day the Southern Kitchen way

Mackensy Lunsford
Southern Kitchen
Create an Aperol aperitivo hour at home in honor of National Spritz Day.

The aperitivo hour, the Italian answer to the happy hour, is a celebration of two of the best things life has to offer: amazing snacks and proper cocktails. 

A good choice for this late-afternoon tradition, which occupies the proper space between day drinking and late-night carousing, is a spritz. Lightly alcoholic but endlessly customizable, bitter liqueurs such as Campari and Aperol give the wine-based bubbly drinks structure. 

Want to throw your own aperitivo hour? There's no time like the present, but Aug. 1 brings the perfect occasion: It's National Spritz Day.

First, the snacks. Every good cocktail deserves something salty on the side. Try these apps to give your aperitivo hour a Southern twist:

We also tapped Aperol brand ambassador Anne-Louise Marquis to explain a bit more about the brand she represents. She also showed us the proper Aperol spritz ratio (recipe below).

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Southern Kitchen: When and where was Aperol created?

Anne-Louise Marquis: Aperol originated in 1919 in Padova, Italy, (and was) created by the Barbieri Brothers, specialists in liqueur production since 1880. They created it with the goal of making a lighter liqueur: a bitter Italian aperitif with a lower alcohol content of 11%.

Create an Aperol aperitivo hour at home in honor of National Spritz Day.

Is the current recipe much different from the original?

No. Aperol’s signature bright orange color and unique bittersweet flavor is a secret recipe that has remained unchanged since its creation in 1919.

What gives Aperol its signature bitter flavor?

Aperol’s signature bitter flavor is derived from a secret mix of ingredients, including herbs and spices. The balance of these herbs, along with the infusion of sweet orange peels, make it the perfect aperitif. 

What tempers that bitterness in the recipe?

The key ingredient that tempers the bitterness is the dried peels of sweet oranges. Aperol would not have its iconic flavor profile without them.

What are your tips for creating an Italian aperitivo hour at home?

Creating the Aperol Spritz at home is easier than ever using the “3-2-1” recipe. In just a few steps, with four ingredients, anyone can enjoy a perfect Aperol Spritz, bringing a touch of Italy into their home. 

Start with a stemmed balloon glass filled to the top with ice. Layer in 3  parts of Cinzano Prosecco followed by 2 parts Aperol and add 1 part (or a splash) of soda water. Stir gently if needed and garnish with an orange slice. 

To easily remember how to make an Aperol spritz in the correct order, think P.A.S.S. – prosecco, Aperol, splash of soda, slice of orange.

‘3-2-1’ Aperol spritz 

Ingredients: 

Ice cubes 

Aperol 

Prosecco 

Soda water (served from siphon or chilled bottle)  

Slice of orange 

Instructions

In a stemmed balloon glass full of ice, combine  three parts prosecco with two parts Aperol. Add one part or a splash of soda water, stir gently if needed and garnish with an orange slice. The end result should be a uniform, perfect orange color.

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Mackensy Lunsford is the food and culture storyteller for USA TODAY Network's South region and the editor of Southern Kitchen.

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Reach me: mlunsford@southernkitchen.com