Coming up with this recipe was the answer to two questions that started off the day; What kind of non-alcoholic drink can I offer for a lunch I am hosting and what should I do with the bunch of fennel fronds left from the fennel and orange salad I just made. (See Creamy Cannellini Beans with Fennel on how to cut fennel).
I always set out bottles of Pelligrino but, something festive and fitting for the season was in order. So, I turned to my limonata recipe for inspiration and since apples are definitely a fall fruit, I began to experiment. The result is a lovely, light beverage that is as crisp and refreshing as the autumn air.
- 1 cup, fennel fronds, rinsed, plus a few for garnish (Save the reserved fennel bulb for Roasted Fennel Soup or Finocchio al Forno).
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup apple juice, cold
- 1 apple, thinly sliced
- 1 cup cold sparkling water (Pelligrino)
- In a small sauce pan, prepare a simple syrup by combining the fennel fronds, sugar and water. Simmer about 5 minutes, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool (do not remove the fronds). Once completely cool, pour through a strainer and discard the fronds. Simple syrup can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for several days.
- To prepare the spritzer, mix the apple juice with the simple syrup and when ready to serve, add the sparkling water, stir well.
- To serve, fill 2-3 glasses and then add an apple slice and fennel frond to each.