For our second outdoor lunch at Belotti, we were seated on the roomy, shady side of the restaurant and our table faced this bright Italian sign for Aperol Spritz---"Italy's #1 cocktail." We can attest to it's popularity, having visited Italy's Piemonte region last September.
In Alba, I was intrigued by a happy table full of Scandinavian tourists (pre pandemic, of course) drinking bright orange aperitivi. What could they be?
|So refreshing on a hot summer afternoon in La Morra|
Back at our Belotti lunch last week, excited by the bright orange poster advertising Italy's #1 cocktail, we ordered Aperol Spritzes, but to our dismay we were served a dispirited watered down version of the cocktail in a short glass
After a few sips, we complained to our waiter and he cheerfully brought us two new drinks which he called biciclettas. These hit the spot and we happily drank them with our fabulous salad and pastas.
|Biciclettas at Belotti|
After a bit of research I found out that a bicicletta is a cocktail made with Campari instead of Aperol, so it's really a Campari Spritz. Chowhound's website offers a thorough comparison of the two liqueurs for those who may be interested. I am paraphrasing their comments below:
Both Campari and Aperol are part of the amaro family (amaro means bitter in Italian) which are consumed neat as an after dinner digestivo or before a meal as an aperitivo to stimulate the appetite. Aperol, created in 1919 by two brothers from Padua, is the sweeter of the two, with a higher sugar count and an alcohol content of 11%. It's signature blend is dominated by bitter and sweet oranges, rhubarb, plus a secretly guarded ratio of herbs and spices.
Campari, created in 1860 by Gaspari Campari in Milano, is significantly more bitter and boozy at 24% alcohol. Its flavor profile features orange zest and a pronounced herbaceousness as well as intense quinine, floral and tart red berry flavors. In cocktails the tartness is usually balanced with something like sweet vermouth.
As for color, Aperol has a significantly lighter orange hue, while Campari is known for its bold electric red tint. Both colors are achieved by a coloring agent.