By Ariel Putman
Enjoying the long days of summer always enkindle childhood like nostalgia: extra hours of play time, long midday naps, the smell of sun kissed skin. This year is an even better opportunity to bring that summer time Warmth indoors. Celebrate the time of day when the late sun glows, the air gets a little cooler, time feels a little slower-they don’t call it magic hour for nothing!
Entertaining, especially now, doesn’t have to be extravagant for a crowd of people. It can just be for you, your family, your roommate, significant other, no matter who it is, putting in the extra thought matters. It’s about taking time to slow down from a chaotic day of to-dos and be present. Don’t underestimate the beautiful simplicity of a magic hour treat! With simplicity being the key word here, I’ll provide some Italian inspirations for summertime spritz, and snacks to accompany them.
Here are the components of a refreshing spritz: Aperitivo + Sparkling Beverage + fresh cut citrus + fresh herbs. When you are making your spritz, I fill up a wine glass with ice and equal parts aperitivo + sparkling, then drop in my citrus and fresh herb, so simple! To make this interactive with everyone, you can set up a make-your-own-spritz bar! Here are some of my favorite spritz combos:
Aperol (Campari works too!) + prosecco + orange + fresh mint
Aperitif white wine (I like Jardesca!) + prosecco + grapefruit + fresh mint
Bianco vermouth (I like Dolin Blanc!) + cremant/Champagne + lemon + fresh thyme
Sweet vermouth (I like Bordiga!) + prosecco + grapefruit (with a little squeeze to add some acidity) + rosemary sprig
Amaro (I like Montenegro!) + rose champagne + grapefruit + fresh basil
*Also, if you would like to go low ABV%, you can substitute the sparkling beverage with club soda (La Croix’s are fun for flavor!) or ginger beer. For a mocktail, instead of aperitivo I just juice the citrus instead and top it off with a flavored sparkling beverage, and don’t forget the fresh herb garnish!- the options are endless, giving you creative freedom.
When it comes to a summertime treat, be mindful of what’s in season this time of year. My favorites are stone fruits and sweet melons. Rather than just slicing fruit and eating them plain, I like to show them some love with a little olive oil, salt and fresh herbs. Here are my current obsessions:
Sliced plums + olive oil + salt/cracked black pepper + chopped up fresh mint
Sliced peaches + olive oil + salt/cracked black pepper + chopped fresh thyme
Sliced sweet melons + olive oil + salt/cracked black pepper + fresh basil (can add some prosciutto to this as well, delicious!)
Some fun additional snacks could be olives, candied nuts, cheeses, & focaccia with olive oil and balsamic!
These recipes show you don’t need any fancy bar tools or chef level cooking skills to host a special gathering. It takes the same amount of energy as resorting to let’s say a couple bags of chips with dips and canned vodka soda seltzers (hehe, guilty!). Preparing food and drinks for others is all about the love, so the thoughtfulness goes a long way. I also adore how these treats reflect the transition of colors that occur in magic hour: bright oranges & soft pinks, to darker greens and cool purples. I always find it charming when you simplify a common space, maybe take away some clutter-for me I leave books lying around, my laptop, lots of blankets, dog toys, etc- and I’ll spend the time to tidy and just leave out a fresh bouquet of flowers and candles. Magic hour is about slowing down, so you can appreciate the small details. Well, I don’t know about you but I’m ready for my refreshing spritz, cheers to creating Warmth in your home and sharing it with others!