It’s Spritz Season (Ignore the Haters)

The Aperol Spritz is suddenly controversial. Whatever. Pour us another, please.

Food Network Kitchen’s Aperol Spritz.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz

Matt Armendariz

The New York Times’ dining section is not usually the most controversial part of the paper, but every once in a while it ignites a major firestorm. Remember Peagate?

Last week, the Gray Lady’s dining section sparked yet another bigger-than-you’d-think brouhaha by publishing an article, written by Rebekah Peppler, under the headline “The Aperol Spritz Is Not a Good Drink.”

“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,” Peppler wrote, noting that the drink’s recent surge in popularity in the U.S. is at least partly due to a major marketing push by Campari America, which makes Aperol.

People went nuts.

Entire Internet Agrees Aperol Spritz Is, in Fact, Good,” declared a Grub Street headline.

“Look, Grub is not out here saying the Aperol Spritz is the best drink or even the best summer drink,” the New York magazine food blog’s Chris Crowley wrote. “Some of us prefer other spritzes. And yes, its current popularity is the product of a marketing push from a giant corporation. But it’s a perfectly fine drink, it’s easy going, and it won’t get you hammered midday like a gin and tonic. Whatever. It’s day-drinking season. The world agrees.”

Crowley went on to cite a few examples of outcry on social media. Such as? Someone who posted a link to the NYT story with an all-cap declaration: “NO-ONE ASKED.”

To be fair, Peppler, who wrote a whole book on aperitifs, isn’t against spritzes. Just that specific kind of spritz.

“For me, a well-made spritz is an ideal opener to the night. The best ones are more nuanced than the Aperol spritz, but no more complicated. If your finished drink tastes like a children’s vitamin, it’s wrong, and it’s a hangover biding its time,” she wrote.

Peppler also shared a few other spritz options: an Amaro Spritz, a Tonic Spritz.

Ultimately, the controversy serves as a reminder that spritzes, which are easy to make (blend sparkling wine, sparkling water, a bitter liqueur, garnish, done) and easy to sip, are great summer drinks and, yeah, the Aperol spritz – which blends Aperol, prosecco, sparkling water and an (optional) orange slice for garnish -- among them.

Here are some recipes to help you get your spritz or spritzer on this summer:

Giada De Laurentiis’ Aperol Spritz

Food Network Kitchen’s Aperol Spritz (pictured top)

Ina Garten’s Aperol Spritzer

Giada De Laurentiis’ Whiskey Spritz

Valerie Bertinelli’s Aperol Spritz Martini

Valerie Bertinelli’s Italian Spritz

Giada De Laurentiis’ Rosé Spritz

Rachael Ray’s Red Wine Spritzers

Valerie Bertinelli’s Coconut Pineapple Spritzer

Rachael Ray’s Citrus White Wine Spritzer

Happy sipping!

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