Now that we are only a few short months away from summer, it’s high time to get acquainted with a bright, punchy cocktail that not only serves as the perfect way to toast warmer weather in the country but is equally as good for you, too.

The Aperol spritz cocktail, known for a not-too-sweet orange or citrus flavor that literally makes you feel like you are consuming beautiful rays of sunshine, has long been one of the most popular apéritifs (light drinks you have before dinner) in Italy. The good news is that this delicious stage-setter can be replicated anywhere and by anyone, whether you’re planning a big family dinner at home or heading out to your nearest restaurant. Now, when it comes to eating a good meal, most of us Texans prefer to get right down to it. But there are plenty of reasons why we should start with a drink that is both delicious and good for you. So grab yourself an Aperol and toast to these four health benefits:

1. It stimulates your appetite

Rather than sipping on a martini or an old-fashioned bottle of beer while waiting on your meal, a good apéritif (from the Latin word aperire, which means to open) literally opens the stomach, settles it, and prepares your digestive tract. This is important because, as much as we all love to gorge and eat whatever we want, sometimes our body doesn’t react the way we want it to. Having an Aperol spritz first does wonders. Don’t believe us? Give it a try.

2. Helps you relax

To piggyback off the first benefit, we as Americans tend to speed through our meals with hurried intentions. A few sips of an Aperol spritz with friends and family has a calming effect and helps slow the pace of dinner as we wait for our meal. Not doing so tends to lead to overeating and a variety of stomach issues such as bloating and upset stomach. Even when the meal has arrived, we are less apt to hurry through.

3. Apéritifs enhance the flavor of a meal

Not only does an Aperol spritz whet the palate, but combining it with a meal helps you savor every bit of seasoning, every bit of flavor, and every last bite of your meal. The trick is knowing which apéritif should be combined with each meal. The website everydayhealth.com has a great article that goes into more detail on this.

4. It’s lower in calories

Many pre, post, and during meal beverages come with excess sugar, calories, and higher alcoholic counts. The Aperol spritz only has three ounces of Prosecco and two ounces of Aperol to go with one ounce of soda water, among other ingredients. According to image.ie, 35ml Aperol sets you back 85 calories, while a 60ml splash of Prosecco is around 40 calories. Soda water, of course, is all of zero calories. That’s a delicious drink that is only 125 calories.

So whether you’ve never tried apéritifs before, or you’re looking for something light and punchy to try for the first time, consider an Aperol spritz. And like we said, they are super easy to make. Below is an easy recipe:

Ingredients

  • 3 oz Prosecco
  • 2 oz Aperol
  • 1 oz Soda water
  • Garnish: Orange wheel

Steps

1. Add all ingredients into a wine glass with ice and stir.
2. Garnish with an orange wheel

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