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tipple

cocktails/ tipple

Spritz for a Crowd

By Kate Davies

It may only be Wednesday, but that doesn’t mean we can’t already be thinking about Friday! This is also a great recipe to stick in your pocket for Valentine’s Day. <3

Meet the Spritz, a festive, quaffable winner of a cocktail that is the essence of easygoing and stylish. In Italy, the Spritz has seen a surge in popularity during the last decade, and it’s catching on among cocktail lovers everywhere. Low in alcohol, refreshing and colorful, the Spritz is a basic combination of ingredients that lends itself to exploration and experimentation. Aperitivo (plural Aperitivi) and Amaro (Amari) are two of the terms used to describe the many bittersweet liqueurs that form the foundation of Spritz, along with fizz and a bit of citrus.

We have found that some Spritz style cocktails lend themselves well to big batches, which can be prepared in advance and kept at the ready when your guests need a refill. Low-alcohol batch cocktails are a great choice for big gatherings, where guests can help themselves without over-indulging. When the weather is warm, it’s lovely to have a pitcher or a punchbowl of something colorful and refreshing to pour over ice and top off with bubbs. Here’s what we’ve learned after extensive, delicious recipe testing.

Aperitivo style liqueurs such as Aperol, Campari, and Cappelletti (or Amari like Cynar and Amaro Nonino) have complex, nuanced flavors along the spectrum between bitter and bitter-sweet. Don’t let that turn you off; paired with prosecco and fruit juice these liqueurs can make incredibly refreshing cocktails. We love fresh grapefruit and blood orange juices, in addition to the typical lemon and orange. Fresh citrus gives drinks a tart, refreshing quality without being too sweet.

When you choose your fizzy component, try to keep it simple. Good-quality prosecco (you don’t need top quality, just avoid the cheaper stuff) or club soda have a clean, crisp quality that allows your other ingredients to shine.

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, you can combine the Aperitivo and fresh citrus in equal parts to form the basis of your Spritz. Grab some bottles of bubbles, and you’re ready to party! I’ve shared a recipe for our favorite Spritz to give you an idea, but much of the fun can be found in trying different combinations and discovering something new.

Seattle Spritz

Print Recipe
Serves: 1 Cooking Time: n/a

Ingredients

  • Rocks glass filled with ice
  • 1 oz Cappelletti
  • 1 oz fresh squeezed orange juice (Cara Cara if you can)
  • Prosecco to the brim
  • Half an orange slice

Instructions

1

Combine the Cappelletti and orange juice in equal parts.

2

Add 2 oz of the mix to a rocks glass with ice

3

Top with Prosecco

4

Garnish with half an orange slice

If you’d like to dive into the world of Amaro, here are some fantastic resources to guide you:

Amaro: The Spirited World of Bittersweet, Herbal Liqueurs with Cocktails, Recipes, and Formulas by Brad Thomas Parsons

Spritz: Italy’s Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail, with Recipes by Leslie Parizeau and Talia Baiocchi

tipple

Milk Punch and Hot Toddies

[With the exception of sausage bread, holiday food and drink  is 100% up to my husband, Jason. He sweetly agreed to write this post on our favourite festive drinks and I not-so-sweetly didn’t get around to posting it! So, here it is now. Better late than never I hope!]

With so few drinking days available in the run-up to Christmas, we at Hungermama HQ take our holiday tipple seriously. Having a couple of bottles of champagne in the fridge is for beginners:  here’s what warms our nights (and mornings, ahem) as we wait for the big day.

Milk Punch:

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Milk punch is a tradition from my late beloved stepmother’s family, readily adopted and proudly carried on each year by Hungermama and me.

Under the theory that the usual rules don’t apply on Christmas, we have this alongside the morning coffee, before breakfast. Most any day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s that doesn’t require complete sobriety is fair game for a blenderful of cheer.

ingredients for two:
-355 ml milk (1 1/2 cup)
-120 ml whiskey (1/2 cup)
(Any whiskey will do, but we ordinarily use bourbon or Jack Daniels.)
-25 g granulated sugar (1/8 cup)
-one ice cube
-nutmeg

directions:
-blend the first four ingredients until frothy
-top with freshly grated nutmeg

We also make an alcohol-free version for the kids by swapping out the whiskey for a drop of almond or vanilla extract.

Hot Toddy:

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Now, I don’t really think there is a standardised “hot toddy” as there is a standard Old Fashioned or Manhattan, but there’s a standard in our house:

ingredients for two:
-120 ml whisky (1/2 cups) (we prefer scotch, but any favourite will do)
-10 g brown sugar (about two teaspoons)
-hot water
-two slices of lemon
-whole cloves

directions:
-prepare the lemon by piercing each segment with a whole clove
-combine half of the whisky with one teaspoon of the sugar in each of two coffee mugs
-fill each cup with hot water and stir to dissolve the sugar
-place clove-spiked lemon in the mug

I am a firm believer in the hot toddy’s medicinal magic, and one must adjust the proportions of whisky to water to sugar to your taste and to what ails you.  Whether it’s your spirit or your body that needs comforting, one (or two!) of these will do the trick.