You'll no longer have to buy a plane ticket to get in on the cocktails at Seattle's Essex: Owners Brandon Pettit and Molly Wizenberg (a.k.a. Orangette) will be sharing their favorite recipes with us, every other week. Drink up, people.
Today: This dead-easy, two-ingredient drink is the perfect way to start off the holidays.
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I’ll cut right to the chase, because I know you’ve got a Thanksgiving menu to plan. When you write your grocery list, please take note: You’re going to need a bottle of prosecco and an orange, and if you didn’t buy Amaro Nardini back when we wrote about the Safe Passage, put it on the list, too. This year, instead of starting Thanksgiving dinner with a glass of Champagne, we’d like to suggest that you begin with a Nardini Spritz.
You’re probably familiar with an Aperol Spritz, which combines the Italian aperitivo Aperol with prosecco, a splash of soda, and an orange slice to make a fizzy, mildly bitter, extremely refreshing cocktail for a warm night. Of course, we Northern Hemisphere dwellers don’t see a lot of warm nights in November, and that’s where the Nardini Spritz comes in. It’s a cold-weather tweak on the concept, swapping the relatively light, low-alcohol Aperol for darker, spicier, higher-alcohol Amaro Nardini -- and ditching the soda because, hey, who needs soda?
Brandon stumbled upon the idea of a Nardini Spritz one late night last fall, when he noticed an open bottle of prosecco in the Delancey bar fridge and decided to pour himself a glass of it after making his final pizza of the shift. The bar fridge is next to a shelf where we keep our nice vinegars, and that night, on the shelf, Brandon happened to notice a stray bottle of Amaro Nardini. Ta daaaa: the Nardini Spritz was born. Brandon liked it so much that, for a long time after, he made one every time we had a bottle of prosecco that needed to be killed. (There are upsides, it turns out, to the fact that sparkling wine doesn’t keep well.)
The nice thing about the Nardini Spritz, Brandon would point out, is that you can make it as strong or as light as you like, depending on how much Amaro Nardini you use. For three ounces of prosecco, we like about 3/4 of an ounce of Amaro Nardini, but for a lower-alcohol start to your evening, you could certainly use less. Either way, thanks to the caramelly, warmly spiced flavors of the amaro, a Nardini Spritz tastes more complex than any dead-easy two-ingredient drink has a right to. With a curly orange twist dropped into the glass like a party streamer, it’s a festive start to the holidays.
Brandon and Molly met because of a mutual interest in food - or, more specifically, when Brandon read Molly's food blog Orangette and sent her an e-mail that included some very effective compliments. The better part of a decade later, they co-own and run the restaurant Delancey and its sibling Essex, in Seattle. Brandon is the chef of both, and when he's not manning the wood-burning oven, he likes to make things from scratch that more sane people would probably buy, like mustard, vinegars, pretzels, and obscurely flavored liqueurs. Molly is the manager / Organizer of All Things at Delancey and Essex, and she is also the author of the New York Times bestseller A Homemade Life and the forthcoming memoir Delancey. They have a young daughter named June, who is excitedly crawling toward the refrigerator as Molly types this sentence, and two dogs named Jack and Alice.