With it’s sunny red-orange hue and gently-bittersweet flavor, Aperol might seem an amaro best suited for taking the edge off blazing-hot summer afternoons. (There’s certainly some truth to that thought; when it comes to day drinking, it’s hard to top a fizzy Aperol Spritz.) But I’d argue it’s equally appropriate during these dreary winter months.
Not only does Aperol have a natural affinity for seasonal citrus fruit — bitter orange is, after all, one of the primary aromatics — but it also can provide an injection of much-needed brightness during these dark days. Paired with blood orange juice, frozen, and fluffed into a light-as-air granita it makes for an excellent, slightly-boozy end to a meal.
A softer variation on the boldly-bitter grapefruit and Campari granita in Jennifer McLagan’s Bitter, it is just the sort of thing I’d make for a dinner party when a more-decadent dessert might seem out of place. I’d imagine it would also would be well at home on that impending holiday, Valentine’s day, for similar reasons.
- 1 cup freshly-squeezed blood orange juice (from 4-5 oranges)
- 1/2 cup Aperol
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- A pinch of salt
- 3 dashes of grapefruit bitters, optional
- Mix together all of the ingredients in a measuring cup. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer into a 8-inch square pan or similar-sized container. Cover tightly with plastic wrap.
- Stir with a fork, roughly every hour, to break up large ice crystals, until frozen, about 3 hours. (As it gets closer to freezing, the motion will be more scraping than stirring.)
- Serve in small chilled bowls or glasses.