Summer, for us, is spritzer season. We have no problem sipping a single cocktail on a cozy, cold winter night, but when it’s hot out, you get thirsty. That can make drinking regular-strength cocktails a little risky. You need to stay hydrated, but also want to have fun, and that’s where spritzers come in. They have a lower alcohol content than a traditional cocktail, so you can sip them freely without worrying about getting totally tanked 15 minutes into the barbecue. One of our favorites? An Aperol Spritz, but Ina Garten’s twist makes these Italian spritzers even more party-worthy.
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That’s because instead of regular oranges, Garten says you can use blood oranges. These half-moon slices of blood orange add their juice and fragrance to each drink, deepening their color and adding an extra complexity to their flavor.
Blood oranges have a colorful flesh that ranges from light orange to vibrant red to deep, dark purple. They taste like regular oranges but with a hint of raspberry flavor, too, making them perfect for summer recipes.
To make a classic Aperol Spritz, Garten’s recipe (from her book Cooking With Jeffrey) calls for chilled Prosecco, 12 ounces of Aperol (she recommends Barbieri), San Pellegrino sparkling water, and 6 slices of orange – blood orange, if you want to be dramatic.
To assemble your drinks, fill a few 14-16oz glass tumblers with ice. Then fill them more than halfway with chilled, bubbly Prosecco, a shot of Aperol, a splash of the San Pellegrino, and a slice of blood orange for garnish. You can squeeze some blood orange juice into the spritzer, too, if you want to enhance and deepen the color.
The result is a drink that’s refreshingly cold, effervescent, slightly bitter, and that has a splash of citrusy sweetness to balance the flavors. It’s the only drink we want to sip on the hottest days of summer, at the beach or by the pool, and with Garten’s blood orange twist, it’s just dramatic enough for dinner parties and other summer soirees.
Before you go, check out Garten’s best dinner recipes below:
Watch: We Tried Ina Garten’s Overnight Mac & Cheese & We Totally Get Why It Broke the Internet
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