The only thing better than a good recipe? When something’s so easy that you don’t even need one. Welcome to It’s That Simple, a column where we talk you through the dishes and drinks you can make with your eyes closed.
Out in the world I am an adventurous drinker, but at home I only ever want one thing: a bitter spritz. Summer or winter, before dinner or as a nightcap, while watching sports or cooking for friends—you’ll catch me tipping a glug of amaro (any kind!) over ice and topping it with seltzer, sparkling wine, or both.
The robust liquor collection my husband and I have amassed over the years sits mostly dormant while I return, again and again, to bottles of syrupy bittersweetness on the ruby-to-chocolate color spectrum (Cappelletti to Averna). If you come over, I’ll pull one out for you too.
So it should come as no surprise that my holiday party drink of choice is a play on my back-pocket favorite, amped up to account for the festivities but just as simple to throw together. I firmly believe that having people over shouldn’t feel all that different than a normal night at home. Sure, you should, like, wear pants, but an evening with company is not the time to try something complex for the first time. I never play bartender, even for myself, so why would I try to become a serious mixologist with the added pressure of an audience?
Instead, for the next few months of get-togethers, I’m setting out the bottles needed to make what I’m calling a Pompari Spritz, giving my guests a general rundown of the formula, and letting them assemble drinks for themselves. Like this: Fill a glass halfway with ice. Add two parts pomegranate juice and one part Campari, ish, plus prosecco to finish.
Crisp, tart, and not overly sweet, pomegranate juice adds a deep color and robust flavor to the drink, without pulling it too far in the capital F Fruity direction. All together it reads like an easier drinking twist on a sbagliato, with the juice subbed in for sweet vermouth.
This cocktail complements a rich holiday meal, and the low alcohol content means you can sip all day. By encouraging everyone to eyeball the amounts right in the glass, you keep the whole thing casual. Easy, drinkable, and comfortably in my wheelhouse—it’s the drink I need to make every party feel like the best ever regular night.