Over the last few months my cocktail tastes have turned almost exclusively towards sparkling. Prosecco, cava, dry brut and even the occasional real-deal champagne. I like a good bubble. Intern and I have been working feverishly (ha!) on a sparkling cocktail combination that we can both agree on. This recipe has slowly evolved from a Campari-gin-Rosemary thing to Aperol-Rosemary-St. Germaine, to a slightly less bitter (and less alcoholic) version that we’ve served a handful of times to friends and family as an aperitivo. We served a version of this cocktail at The Skill Exchange launch party, although that one was much boozier, and balanced with a bit of elderflower and rosemary syrup. This version, is gentle and friendly for those of you who claim not to like Campari, or have never tried it before.
1 250ml bottle of chilled prosecco or cava
1 cup Aperol (an Italian aperitivothat tastes slightly bitter and herbal)
Rosemary simple syrup
Rosemary sprigs for garnish
Combine 1 cup of sugar to 2 cups of water, and bring to a slow boil. Add several fresh sprigs of rosemary to the simple syrup, and stir until sugar is disolved. Simmer for a few minutes, then remove rosemary sprigs and allow syrup to thicken and cool. You may need to use a strainer to remove any bits of darkened rosemary from the syrup. Once your syrup is cool and your sparkling is chilled, combine sparkling and Aperol in a pitcher. The syrup gives a nice rosemary flavor, but if you add too much it can get too sweet and overpowering. Start by adding 1/3 a cup of syrup to the pitcher and taste before adding more. Once you have your desired sweetness, pour into champagne flutes, and top with a small sprig of rosemary. Enjoy the hell out of it.