I just did a fun Saturday morning radio interview with Mario Martnoli and Amy Strong of the “Food & Dining” show on KLAA AM 830 and are they ever Italo-philes! We talked about buying hand-blown champagne flutes in Venice, sipping cocktails made with Aperol and the Lemon Ice, a delicious digestif cocktail from The Bubbly Bar made with prosecco, vodka, lemon sorbet and fresh mint.
Our conversation got me thinking about all the lovely sparkling wines and liqueurs that come from Italy. When I’m mixing a cocktail, probably the first wine I think of is prosecco, the sparkling wine from the Veneto. Wines made from the prosecco grape have such a delicate quality with soft bubbles and hints of green apple, minerals and white flowers.
I recently received a sample of a new one called Passionne di Fiore.It’s a likable little wine, with lots of fresh green apple and hints of underripe peaches in its aroma. It’s a spumante style of prosecco, meaning it has about 4.5 to 5 atmospheres of pressure in the wine; a frizzante style of prosecco is softly sparkling and has just 2.2 to 2.5 atm of pressure. I also liked that it’s available in the 375 ml size which is perfect for making a couple cocktails for brunch.
The same company that makes Passionne di Fiore prosecco also makes a unique liqueur called Fragoli. It’s a wild strawberry liqueur that I wrote about here a few months ago after I discovered it at the W San Diego. Fragoli actually contains the little Italian wild strawberries called fragolini di bosco.
Since Mario, Amy and I were talking about good cocktails to serve to guests, I decided to create a brunch cocktail called La Mattina Appassionata (Passionate Morning in English) that mixes some of the flavors I love from Italy.
La Mattina Appassionata
1 ounce Fragoli
juice of 1/2 tangerine
4 ounces prosecco
Add the Fragoli, Aperol and tangerine juice to a flute, straining out any seeds. Top with the chilled prosecco and serve immediately. Cin cin!