'What is prosecco?' is a question drinks writer Amy Zavatto (author of Architecture Of The Cocktail) used to get asked a lot.
Along with: 'It's champagne, right?'
'It's sweet, right?'
'It's just cheap stuff, right?'
Then, it seems, the world at large had an 'ah-ha!' moment, and prosecco was everywhere.
A glass of Prosecco before dinner? Well, of course! A low-alcohol spritz to whet your whistle when out for drinks with friends?
Wine lists and cocktail menus began to burst with options for the Italian fizzy stuff.
And yet, the 'what is Prosecco?' question lingers.
It's popular! It's fun! It's Italian! What more do you need to know?
Well, before you dive into one of Amy's colourful recipes, prosecco is made from the glera grape that grows in the Treviso region of north-east Italy.
Prosecco is the name of the DOC (regional designation) to assure the basic standard of quality.
Prosecco labelled DOCG comes from the steep hillsides of Conegliano Valdobbiadene - a special zone that assures a higher level of quality.
Prosecco comes in three styles: A brut with less sugar (up to 12g), an extra dry style with more sugar (12-17g), and a dry style (17-32g) which is the sweetest of all.
Brut prosecco works best in a cocktail - here are three of Amy's concoctions to try...
This drink is a tiny bit dangerous - it's so refreshing and easy to drink, you'll find it disappears fast.
Use a good-quality limoncello (Caravella makes a nice version), or plan ahead and make your own!
• 35ml vodka
• 22ml limoncello
• 3 dashes of lemon bitters
• 60-90ml brut-style prosecco
• To garnish - a wide piece of lemon peel
Fill a double rocks glass with ice.
Pour in the vodka, limoncello and bitters.
Give it a good stir. Top with prosecco and garnish with the lemon peel.
The classic kir cocktail was invented by, and subsequently named after, the Canon Felix Kir, mayor of Burgundy and champion of all the delicious things that come from that lovely area of France, like creme de cassis and the traditional kir ( that uses a still white wine made from the grape aligote).
Swap out the latter for a little sparkly Cremant de Bourgogne, and you've got yourself a kir royale, but prosecco makes a pretty lovely substitute - just make sure you go with a brut style, as the cocktail is not meant to be sweet.
And if you can find yourself a bottle of extra brut-style? Go for it! Your refreshed senses will thank you.
• 8ml creme de cassis
• 120ml brut or extra brut-style prosecco
• To garnish - a raspberry
Pour the creme de cassis into a flute.
Top with prosecco and garnish with a raspberry.
Mistakes have a bad rep as being the result of a good thing gone wrong. But in the case of the sbagliato (or 'mistaken' in Italian), a wrong bottle made for a right cocktail.
So the story goes: A bartender attempting to produce a hasty negroni picked up a bottle of prosecco instead of gin.
And so, a lovely, lip-smacking aperitif was born.
Although a negroni calls for equal parts of its ingredients, I like to add a little more prosecco to mine.
• 30ml Campari
• 30ml sweet vermouth
• 60ml brut-style prosecco
• To garnish - a wide piece of orange peel
Pour the Campari, vermouth and prosecco into an ice-filled double rocks glass.
Give it a little stir and garnish with the orange peel.
• Extracted from Prosecco Made Me Do It: 60 Seriously Sparkling Cocktails by Amy Zavatto is published in hardback by HarperCollins, priced £9.99.