Happy Hour Italian Style!

The Aperitivi! What better way to end your day then sitting on the terrace overlooking the pool at Villa Nobile or sitting in the Jacuzzi contemplating the beautiful view and the extraordinary day you have had with an Aperitivo in hand. There is nothing quite like the Italian pre-dinner cocktail. This is the Italian version of the American Happy Hour. It is lightly alcoholic and full of flavors, and with nibbles it helps stimulate the senses as well as the appetite.

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Like the American Happy Hour, Italians enjoy their classic Aperitivo year-round, but it is in the spring and summer that it is the most refreshing.  The Aperitivo is often based on one of the refreshing bitter vermouths of Campari, Aperol or Cinzano.  If bitter doesn’t appeal to you, sip a Bellini or a flute of prosecco, Italian sparkling wine — like champagne.

The Educated Barfly suggests that, “the origin of the Spritz dates back to 1805 during the Napoleonic wars. In the years following the end of those wars the Austro-Hungarian empire took ownership of the Veneto region of Italy, where Venice is located. The Austrians held that region for the next 50 years and developed a custom of adding a splash or in German a “Spritz” of water to the local wine”. According to Wikipedia, the Aperol Spritz derives its contemporary origin from the Venetian tradition of mixing white wine and soda.

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Even in Italy there are different interpretations of Aperol Spritz depending on one’s locale. Variations on the Aperol Spritz theme may be found to exist in Florence compared, say, to Verona. But, any distinctions (within reason) start to fade as one begins to understand the phenomenon of Spritz/Aperitivo as a mentality, an attitude, really, that is connected to lifestyle, socializing, and living well.

One of the reasons we purchased and renovated Villa Nobile was for the above idea – the mentality, the attitude, the lifestyle.  As a guest of Villa Nobile, you find yourself learning to let go, to relax and look forward to this time of the day when you can just take everything in. 

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When you return home and feel the desire to once again experience this feeling you can make time for the Aperitivo.  Below are some recipes to enjoy:

  • For an Aperol Spritz begin with a large-bowl wine glass. Add few cubes of ice and swirl them to chill the glass. Leaving the ice cubes in the glass, add 3 parts chilled Prosecco, 2 parts Aperol, 1 part soda water. Following the suggested order of preparation prevents the Aperol from gathering at the bottom of the glass (Aperol.com). Garnish with a slice of orange.  What does a good Aperol Spritz taste like? Well, it is fizzy and slightly bittersweet with notes of citrus. The drink’s glorious orange color is a metaphor for sunny summer days, pretty sunsets, and an antidote to bad weather gloom.

  • Famed in cinema, the Negroni combines 1 ounce (2 tbsp) gin, 1 ounce Campari , 1 ounce sweet vermouth (Martini is the classic Italian brand). The glass is garnished with a twist of orange peel.

  • The Americano is similar to the Negroni, with 1 1/2 ounces Campari, 1 1/2 ounces sweet vermouth and 3 ounces club soda. Garnish with a twist of orange peel.

  • From renowned Harry’s Bar in Venice, is the Bellini that features prosecco and peach puree for a very pretty presentation and a sweet taste.  3 ounces prosecco and 2 ounces peach puree.

  • Named for the hero of the unification of Italy, the Garibaldi is 1 ounce Campari, 3 ounces orange juice over ice.  Garnish with half a slice of orange. A sipper.

AND let’s not forget the munchies aka cicchetti aka snacks! Especially delectable accoutrements with Aperol Spritz include premium potato chips, a classic, and personal favorite, olives, marinated onions, and small bites. 

Don’t you just feel yourself letting go?  Think of a glorious breeze coming off the valley and watching the water ripple in the pool and see the sweat as it rolls off your glass of….

CIN! CIN!

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