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The NYTimes Comments Section Breaks Out Into White Nonsense Over the Aperol Spritz

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | May 13, 2019 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | May 13, 2019 |


Last week, an author by the name of Rebekah Peppler wrote an article posted to The New York Times with this simple headline (that has been repeatedly called out as clickbait by people who have apparently never read a movie site): “The Aperol Spritz Is Not a Good Drink.” Personally, I had no idea what an Aperol Spritz is (although, my wife kindly explained it to me) because I am almost exclusively a beer drinker, but Ms. Peppler did not provide a good impression of the drink:

Served in branded, jumbo wine glasses, the sugary apéritif is paired with low-quality prosecco, soda water and an outsize orange slice, resulting in something that drinks like a Capri Sun after soccer practice on a hot day. Not in a good way.

All I hear, personally, is alcohol, ice, and jumbo, which is enough on its own to sell me on the beverage. But Ms. Peppler reached out to some experts in the field to provide commentary on its substandard ingredients:

Most spritzes are “heavy on terrible quality, sweet prosecco,” Ms. Parla said. And if the Aperol spritz isn’t served immediately, she added, “the ice melts and dilutes things so you get a watered-down version of something that’s not even the best expression of the drink.”

The article, however, is almost beside the point, because the real joy of this Times piece is in the comments, where a culture war of sorts has broken out. Over a drink. There are nearly 400 last I looked, and my favorite brand of comment among them are those that decry this piece as snobbish while displaying the commenter’s own snobbish bona fides. In fact, I like to picture all the commenters here looking down their nose at this “snobbish” article while speaking with a Harvard accent and drinking their Aperols, with one pinky up, from the Italian villas.

Take, for instance, this comment from Tom H., who brings his experience from the Vento region in Italy to look down upon Ms. Peppler’s commentary:

I agree with the other posters here. Snobbery is the red thread through this piece. My wife and I spent a week in the Vento region of Italy in 2016 and as we hung out in bars we saw locals come in right after work for an Aperol spritz and the bartender always served a small plate of salty chips with the drink. The person would have the drink and some chips and then leave. Presumably to go home. We tried the drink and loved it. It’s great for summer. The previous year we learned from the French in the South of France to appreciate a chilled glass of Rose after the beach or after work on a hot day. People, our friends in Europe know how to enjoy life. Ignore this writer and have a spritz.

Meanwhile, JCGMD thinks Ms. Peppler is being smug, but also, it’s always trash when it’s made in America, says someone who has had the pleasure of a fine meal or three while living in Bologna:

Having lived in Italy for 16 years, I can assure both the Aperol and Campari spritz’s are fine drinks. Hashtag or no hashtag. If Americans fail to capture the essence of the mix, it’s not the drinks fault. Aperol and Campari have been around for long time, and will continue to thrive with or without your approval. Firstly, no bar in Italy serves the drink in a gigantic wine goblet. Portions are usually more controlled. If I judged the US interpretations of all the wonderful dishes I ate while living in Bologna, they would all be relegated to the scrap heap.

MimiB thinks the article is “snobbish,” but would definitely choose a “good draught beer to accompany her burger”:

Ridiculous snobbish article. Of course a drink made with poor ingredients isn’t a great drink, unless you’re enjoying it on a sun-filled patio in the company of congenial people. Then, it’ll do, on the occasion, because the context of your experience is more important than the drink. Obviously, a skilled bartender, using the best ingredients, will make a better drink than something thrown together without such care. By the same reasoning, I don’t order the house wine in a sports grill and expect to be impressed. Instead, I would choose a good draught beer to accompany my burger.

Michael O’Malley uses Latin to convey how snobby he thinks this article is:

De gustibus non est disputandum. Rebekah who made you the arbiter of taste? If you don’t like Aperol, then don’t drink it. But the audacity of telling the rest of us what to like or how to drink a cocktail boggles the mind if not the taste buds.

ryan ryan takes issue on behalf of the “beverage cannon.”:

A low blow to the beverage cannon. Even the drink programs of the late, great Sacha Petraske honor the 1-2-3 proportions of the Aperol Spritz, per the specifications on the back label of the Aperol bottle. Who is this author to disown a true classic?

From Nina, who loves a good booze-infused orange slice with salted peanuts and chips, as God intended:

Alert the Italian media! The afternoon pleasures of sipping a crisp Aperol Spritz with salted peanuts and chips is one of the treasures of Italian life. Ms. Pepplar needs to bring her chin and nose out of the clouds and join us folks who love to people watch in the piazza with a cold spritz in hand while savoring a delicious booze-infused orange slice. Now that’s living.

From Aureliozegna, who agrees with the author, and I think believes that women have the good sense to avoid it?

I am a winemaker working in Napa just returning from Tuscany where my son lives Florence as an artist. I find the drink obnoxious compared to say a light white wine from Alto Adige or Sardegnia. The taste — yikes is an attribute — is awful. I sense women avoid the drink. With the greatest respect to the enologist who created this new taste.

From DJ, Esq., who doesn’t need the snobbish advice of a woman who spells her name the Old Testament way:

As an Italian myself, I don’t need the snobbish advice of someone named “Rebekah” to tell me whether Aperol Spritz is a quality aperitif.

Mary here takes great offense to this entire piece! She’s scandalized!

Listen, NYT, you have no idea what you’re talking about making blanket judgements like this one. First, very often you can choose a good quality Prosecco to mix in. Second, if the Aperol Spritz is so bad then why do you close by offering recipe ideas? This drink has been around longer than Instagram and there are plenty of people with enough confidence in their own palate — we don’t need you to be the final authority of “what’s good.” You’re also missing the point by making this a snobby American judgement of the drink, which in Italy is just as much about the social value of a light drink and snack with loved ones as it is a enjoyment of taste. Get over your snobbery — this like many gastronomic traditions of Italy is celebrated as an ordinary thing to enjoy, not a highbrow competition of ostentation. Also, why not at least get an Italian food critic’s perspective? “The Aperol Spritz Is Not a Good Drink.” The New York Times is not a good media outlet. (Sometimes.) *end rant*

Personally, I’m with Tommy here: Good or bad, I can scarcely recall an alcoholic drink sitting in a glass long enough for the ice to melt:

While I feel bad that she can’t appreciate a wonderful, social, easy-drinking patio cocktail, the most concerning statement is that the article mentions what happens to the drink if the ice melts. I’m sorry, I’ve never experienced this phenomenon, and can not relate to this statement. They are absolutely wonderful and such a beautiful drink.

If you have a few minutes, I heartily recommend the comments section here, because it is a blast. And if you want an extra layer of white nonsense, my wife recommended I write about this article while I was eating an eggs benedict with lobster and a “confectioner’s plate” during brunch yesterday. We both predicted how commenters here would react, but I don’t want to influence it by revealing as much.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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