Is The Aperol Spritz After My Millennial Basic Heart?

I returned from Italy with a single hot take: the pasta isn’t that great. I grew up in a Haitian household and our spaghetti exceeds any house made noodle and ragu. Sorry not sorry. The secret is in the epis.

The hot take I didn’t see coming was that the Aperol Spritz is bad. Look anywhere along the Amalfi Coast and they’re lined up at all the al fresco cafes. The drink is simple, a little bitter, a little sweet and serves its purpose in prepping your taste buds for upcoming courses.

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In true millennial fashion, I first saw the coral colored cocktail on Instagram, probably a result of Aperol’s 2017 campaign. I ordered my first one at the country club across the street from the place I used to work. It was one of the first days where the weather broke 65 degrees and I was yearning for a taste of summer and honestly, anything not a corporate office. Enter Aperol, Prosecco, club soda and an orange wedge for garnish. The writer of the NYT piece that sparked this and many other reactions compared the drink to my childhood favorite. “Served in branded, jumbo wine glasses, the sugary apéritif is paired with low-quality prosecco, soda water and an outsize orange slice, resulting in something that drinks like a Capri Sun after soccer practice on a hot day. Not in a good way,” she argues. In all my years of sneaking Capri Suns that were reserved for school lunch out of my pantry, there was never a sip that didn’t leave me satisfied. My adult self still goes wild if I get my hands on one. 

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I don’t think I’d have a connection to write about the drink without my quick stint it Italy. It’s all I drank for 7 days and not once did I think, this is bad. It felt like an easy way to immerse myself in the daily traditions. The drink isn’t the best you’ll ever have but it’s also not the worst. You could call it a gateway to others like Campari and Amaro. However, I entered Negroni territory and I want my tastebuds back. Anyway, I went on this trip with a very short list of Italian language. My notes read:

  • Where is the train? - Dove il treno?

  • Table for four please. - Tavolo per quattro per favore.

  • Check, please? Il conto, per favore.

  • House white wine - Vino bianco di casa

My very basic Italian required I keep ordering cocktails to a minimum, I didn’t practice “tequila and club soda with a little bit of sweetened lime juice” so “Aperol spritz per favore” worked just fine. The Aperol Spritz is sort of a love letter to the places I felt the most joy in the form of an oversized wine glass of bitter liqueur and bubbles. It’s equally nostalgic and futuristic, a thank you and a I’ll see you soon. 

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Jovania Pierre