The Best Spritz I Ever Had

·2 min read
Aperit spritz
Aperit spritz

Every time I feel myself growing weary of spritzes, the universe responds by presenting me with a variation so refreshing, so unusual that I'm sucked back in, newly devout. I experienced such a spritz on a recent trip to Tuscany, while staying at the hilltop Monteverdi Tuscany, a luxurious boutique hotel in Castiglioncello del Trinoro that offers sweeping views of the Val d'Orcia region. At the property's Library Bar, which looks out onto the golden, rolling panorama of UNESCO-protected landscape, I couldn't help but pause at the "Spritz Variazioni" portion of the menu, as any dutiful American tourist in Italy would.

While the drink was bright orange like the Aperol spritzes that flood my feed in the summer, it featured a unique, highly regional ingredient that (no disrespect) blows Aperol out of the water: Santoni Aperit.

As Vittoria Bellantonio, the food and beverage manager at Monteverdi, explained to me, the local liqueur is made just a town over by Gabriello Santoni in Chianciano Terme. Upon first sip of my "Italian Spritz," I sensed the liqueur had a fuller, punchier bitter flavor than more widely known spritz ingredients. I'd never heard of Aperit, in part, because it is so specific to the area, but now I'm a lifelong fan.

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Infusions of orange, herbs, and roots are blended with rhubarb, lending the aperitif a pleasing complexity. Splashed into Bortolotti prosecco and soda water, with a healthy garnish of thyme from the chef's garden, the bitter spritz brought me back to life after a long international schlep.

The atmosphere wasn't bad, either. Located in a revitalized hilltop village with ancient and medieval roots, Monteverdi's food and beverage programs are led by executive chef Giancarla Bodoni, who also oversees the property's fine-dining restaurant, Oreade, and the forthcoming Zita, a more casual concept opening in 2023.

Bodoni has an on-site chef's garden that inspires not only the culinary program, but also the drink menus at the Lounge & Terrace Bar and the Library Bar. After my spritz, hoping to keep the herbaceous vibes going without more alcohol, I settled on the zero proof La Spuma: fresh cucumber, basil, lime juice, and La Spuma cedrata, a fantastic Italian soft-drink flavored with Calabrian citrus fruit.

As the weather gets chillier, I'm prone to torturing myself with a mental highlight reel of my summer exploits, and the reel keeps freezing when I get to Tuscany: of drinking my Aperit spritz, above Val D'Orcia.