If you don’t like Aperol, you might want to skip this blog post. Because today’s post is an ode to the orangey bitter yumminess of Aperol. Oh Aperol, I love you in a spritz in the summer, and I love you in this deliciously amazing cocktail that goes down like water (like WATER, people! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!)
Intro to Aperol Cocktail
2 ounces Aperol
1 ounce gin
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 ounce simple syrup (see NOTE)
1 dash Angostura bitters
Twist of orange peel, for garnish
Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add the Aperol, gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and bitters. Shake well, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass (I prefer a coupe glass). Twist the orange peel over the drink to release its oils, then drop it into the glass. (Full disclosure, I never garnish with an orange peel).
Gift giving is especially interesting this year. But based on the last 8 months, I feel you can’t go wrong with alcohol. And if you have friends who enjoy fancy libations, this will be their favorite gift.
For Father’s Day, I got Mr. KK a 3-month subscription to Shaker & Spoon Cocktail Club. Our date night’s out had turned to date night’s in, so why not kick off the night with craft cocktails?
The idea behind this subscription box is simple: each month you receive a box of 3 recipes and everything you need to make 12 drinks (4 from each recipe) of cocktail goodness. The only thing you need to purchase is the spirit: one bottle makes cocktails for the entire box (and then some).
The recipes are crafted from mixologists across the country, with little-known ingredients such as fancy bitters or aromatics, hard-to-find sodas and garnishes.
For our subscription, we enjoyed the tequila, Japanese whiskey and mezcal boxes. It was fun trying new cocktails, and pairing foods and snacks to match.
Tonight we sampled the El Palenque, made with Mezcal, pineapple shrub, lime ginger beer.
This was my first mezcal drink, and it was…smoky. Not offensive, but you can definitely taste the smoke. When we make our second drinks (each kit makes 4 of each kind of cocktail!) we substituted tequila for the mezcal, and I got stronger notes of pineapple. Both versions were good, and were a drink I would never think up on my own (let alone have pineapple shrub lying around!)
We had so much fun with our subscription box, and helped us try new cocktails and break us out of our “old standbys”.
I love this gift!
Past subscription boxes have included vodka, aperol, elderberry liquor and more. Each cocktail is unique. You can skip any box you’re not interested in (how cool is that?) And the best part of the gift is the active social community on Facebook for members: people who post photos of drinks, their at-home bar set ups and glassware – these are my spirit (animals).
It’s not surprising that liquor stores are up like 35% in sales during the pandemic. This has been a crazy year.
There have been many beers shared in the KK household over the last 8 months after a stressful day.
My drink of choice is usually seasonal – is there anything better than a cold, hoppy beer on a hot summer afternoon? Or a glass of red wine on a chilly winter night by the fire? But I have a problem that I’ve shared before: I don’t have a go-to cocktail.
And while I don’t have a cocktail, I believe I have found my spirit (animal): Aperol. First, I single-handedly kept Aperol afloat with all of the Spritzes I consumed this summer. Then, during the summer storm that took down half the trees in our yard, right after the power went out, we tried a new Aperol drink: Intro to Aperol. GUYS, this drink is amazing!
Intro to Aperol
Let’s start with how gorgeous the color of this drink is. A vibrant not-quite-red but more of an orangey-pink.
2 ounces Aperol
1 ounce London Dry gin (we used Tanqueray)
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice, from 1 lemon
1/4 ounce simple syrup
1 dash Angostura bitters
Garnish: orange twist
Fill a cocktail shaker 2/3 full with ice. Add Aperol, gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and bitters. Shake until well chilled, about 20 seconds. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with orange twist.
Then start making another round because these beauties go down SMOOTHLY and you’ll need another in no time. (I mean, these craft cocktails are so small, am I right?)
While I love trying different types of IPA beers, when it comes to cocktail, I’m a little bit of a fraidy cat. I don’t have a “signature” drink, andI often find myself in bars and restaurants where I don’t want beer or wine and I’m in a bit of a pickle.
At home, however, I have a go-to cocktail that has been my favorite for quite some time. It’s aptly named the “kk special” because I basically made it up based on ingredients I like. And even though every time we have cocktails I swear I’m going to find something else I like or to try, I always come back to my old faithful.
I have had this drink for every occasion that has come up in the last decade.
The “kk special” cocktail recipe
This cocktail was born out of my weird mindset that I only liked vodka (besides tequila in margaritas) and my favorite flavor was grapefruit. And that I didn’t like anything sweet. Thus, Mr. KK worked his magic and the kk special was born. And the 2-1-2 cocktail recipe.
2 parts vodka
1 part Aperol
2 parts fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
Garnish of thin-sliced grapefruit wedge optional
Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously until ice cold. Pour into a coup glass. Garnish with a thin sliced grapefruit
I’ve asked for these drinks at bars, and 9 times out of 10, then mess it up. They either get the ingredients/balance wrong, or they don’t have fresh squeezed grapefruit juice. Those small cans of grapefruit juice just aren’t going to cut it. Or they don’t have Aperol.
You can’t go wrong with the 2-1-2 cocktail combo. This drink goes down smoothly and is the perfect “starter” for any occasion.