Hi, Friends of Cocktails. Today’s post is based on a very special episode where we’ll make 2 spritz cocktails, but as much as I love our Cocktail Time studio, I feel like the setting could be a bit better. So when FIOL reached out and invited us to Treviso, the home of Prosecco, I gladly accepted. We’re taking Cocktail Time on the road for this one, so I recommend you check out the full episode on YouTube first to see how it went! With that said, it’s Cocktail Travel Time.
Treviso is nestled in the heart of the Veneto region in northern Italy. It offers a tantalizing journey through the authentic tastes of Italian cuisine. With vibrant food markets and a commitment to locally sourced ingredients, this charming city feels like the right location for the first ever Cocktail Time excursion. So we’re more than honored to be welcomed at the breathtaking Villa Tiepolo Passi, a Seventeenth-century Veneto villa on the outskirts of Treviso, and still the beloved home of its owners, the noble Conti Passi de Preposulo family.
It offers an exquisite starting spot for our exploration of Treviso, where I’ll be looking for some ingredients for two delicious Spritz Cocktails, inspired by local cuisine. We’ll first make the Basil Spritz created by Erik Hakkinen, then I’ll make a signature Olive Fiol Spritz. I couldn’t bring everything on the Cocktail Time cart… so we’ll need to go find some lemons, olive oil and basil.
Treviso captivates visitors with its rich culinary heritage, of which Prosecco is of course the most famous example. I’ll tell you about another one at the end of the post, but for now let’s grab some lemons, basil, and extra virgin olive oil. We also need some strawberries, balsamic vinegar and some rooibos tea, but that’s for… another time. After gathering all these ingredients, it’s now time to head back to the Villa and start with the first cocktail - well, maybe after a traditional espresso.
● 90mL (3oz) FIOL Prosecco
● 60mL (2oz) Soda
● 15mL (0.5oz) Dry Gin
● 15mL (0.5oz) Pear Liqueur
● 15mL (0.5oz) Lemon Juice
● 3-4 Basil Leaves
First fill a wine glass with ice to chill it, and to a shaker add all but the FIOL and soda. There’s no need to muddle the basil as ice will do that for us, so fill the shaker with ice and remember the harder you shake the better. Then double strain into the chilled wine glass over ice, followed by today’s special guest, the FIOl, Then first add the reason we’re here, FIOL, and as with all Spritz cocktails, some soda water. Gently lift the cocktail with a barspoon so we’re not losing bubbles with stirring, and I hope you got enough basil, because we’ll need a few nice, bright green leaves to garnish the cocktail. Beautiful!
The sun in Italy is a bit stronger than back at the Cocktail Time studio, but as they’d say around here: Così è la vita! Saluti! Basil gives the cocktail a nice herbal aroma, and it’s also really present on the palate, making for a wonderful combination with pear. The crisp dry gin and bright lemon juice give it a summer feel, and the combo of FIOL prosecco and soda water make the whole thing a light and effervescent day sipper.
FIOL Prosecco definitely embodies the essence of what Prosecco can and should be. It has a floral, fruity and slightly acidic aroma that's lively and refreshing, with a nice balance of acidity, combining both savory and sweet flavors, ending on notes of Mediterranean spices and lemons - so it’s not a mystery how well it plays out in the Basil Spritz. The bubbles in FIOL are also incredibly fresh and long lasting, creating a wonderful and playful mouthfeel with a soft finish.
As a bit of history, FIOL was founded in 2010 by 3 lifelong friends born in Treviso that shared a passion for good wine, and the Italian way of life. FIOL’s flavor comes from 100% Glera grapes and the brand’s wine vision, flavor profile and quality control is overseen by Marzio Pol, an expert in the wine and sparkling wine industry, who has overseen more than 50 harvests. The FIOL logo was inspired by the vine poles created to support the plant, showcasing symbols of strength and tradition.
Also, did you know that in the ancient venetian language the word "fiol" meant "son" or "young boy", but it’s also used among friends to refer to someone that stands out and who knows how to appreciate life? Seems very appropriate for such a unique brand, but if you are like me, and appreciate good food as much as life, you’ll love the Olive Fiol Spritz - yes, olive oil and basil can make more than just pesto.
To make the Olive Fiol Spritz you’ll need the star of the day, FIOL Prosecco, dry vermouth, a homemade olive oil & basil syrup, a little saline solution, and soda water to top up. For garnish we’ll coat the glass with a little lemon dust too, so let’s start.
Olive Oil & Basil Syrup
● 10g Basil
● 150g Olive Oil
● 0,3g Xanthan Gum
● 2,7g Gum Arabic
● 200g Sugar
● 240g Water
To start I’ll first blanch 10 grams of basil, to make sure our syrup keeps a vibrant green color - otherwise it would turn brown-ish pretty fast. To do that simply place the basil in boiling hot water for 15 seconds, then submerge it into an ice bath for 1 minute. This process stops enzyme action which otherwise causes loss of flavor, color and texture. In addition, blanching removes some surface dirt and microorganisms, and helps slow vitamin losses.
To this blanched basil you will add 240 grams of water and blend it using a stick blender, then filter the basil water through a fine strainer to strain out the solid particles. Once filtered, weigh out 200 grams of this basil water and place it on medium heat to make the other ingredients easier to mix. So to the basil water add the olive oil, gum arabic and xanthan gum. Help everything mix in and dissolve with another whirl of the stick blender, and once we have a homogeneous mixture it’s time to add the sugar, which we’ll mix with a whisk.
Once everything is dissolved and in solution, give it a try - you probably don’t make basil & olive oil syrup every day, then bottle it in a labeled bottle and that’s it. Beautiful olive green color, with a pleasantly herbal and oily aroma. It’s incredibly smooth and very aromatic, but you can use this recipe to make a syrup from other types of oil or fat as well, like peanut, avocado or coconut oil, or even bacon fat.
Moving on to the garnish, you just need a lemon and a peeler, heat, and some time.
● 1 Lemon
Make sure you give your lemon a good wash before you peel it, and once you have your lemon completely peeled, place the peels on direct Veneto sunshine so they dry out completely. You know what? A dehydrator or an oven set to the lowest temperature works perfectly fine as well. Once completely dried, crush the peels with a mortar & pestle into a fine powder - one may say a lemon dust.
Now transfer the powder and we’re finally ready to make the Olive Fiol Spritz!
Olive Fiol Spritz
● 90mL (3oz) FIOL Prosecco
● 15mL (0.5oz) Dry Vermouth
● 22,5mL (0.75oz) Olive Oil & Basil Syrup
● 30mL (1oz) Soda
● 2 20% Drops Saline
No shaker this time, but grab your glass and let’s take care of the garnish before we chill it. To do that take a thin brush and use it to add a strip of lemon juice on the outside of the wine glass, then dust this part of the glass with dehydrated lemon peel powder. Ideally do this beforehand, so you can place the glass in the freezer and have it chilled when you start making the cocktail. Now fill the glass with ice and start adding the ingredients, starting with our award winning Ambassador of Italian excellence: FIOL Prosecco.
You can now go in with a barspoon and gently lift and mix all ingredients of our cocktail. With that, the Olive Fiol Spritz is ready, and as we already have the garnish on the outside of the glass, we can give it a try straight away. Saluti! Aroma is similar to that of the Basil Spritz - herbal, but here we also get notes of olive oil and citrus. On the palate the Olive Fiol Spritz is full-bodied and refreshing. Dry vermouth adds a nice freshness that blends perfectly with the FIOL. We made an elegant and unique Spritz.
With that you’ve made it to the bottom of the glass of this special episode, and since we were able to film in Treviso, did you know that besides being the home of Prosecco and of course FIOL it’s also the birthplace of Tiramisu? I don’t have a cocktail with Tiramisu yet, but in the meantime you can check out how to make a Donut Old Fashioned and a Brownie Manhattan and I’ll see you next week. Buon appetito!