It's quitting time when I pull up to Dolce Vita (500 Westheimer, 713-520-8222), and the traffic on Westheimer is moving at its usual crawl. The weather's just right, though, and my date and I opt for the patio. I've heard about a good drink here, but I can't remember what exactly. "Do you have a cocktail that's, like, orange-y?" I ask. "Our blood orange spritz," the waiter replies. That sounds just a little bit dangerous. "We'll take two," I say. The patio fence is draped in vines, and the scent of jasmine is almost overpowering. The drinks arrive, and they're pure heaven. Made with a special vodka, Prosecco and blood orange juice, the cocktail is sweet and a bit bubbly. A lemon wedge gives it some tang. I've never heard of a blood orange, so my date explains that it's a natural orange with a deep crimson flesh. I order another and start working on my prosciutto pizza, which is covered in arugula. Arugula becomes my favorite word, and I use it enthusiastically, as in "My pizza has too much arugula in its arugula-colored arugula." I sound out each utterance with interesting arrangements of syllables, like a '50s bop musician: Arrr-rue-GAH-la. Are-ROO-ga-la. Aru-GE-lah. My date is thrilled. I finish my pizza and lean back to watch the sun begin its descent. It's turning the color of my spritz. Down the road, the traffic has cleared, and some kid is practicing kick-flips on his skateboard. Is it summertime already? Yeah, and the living is easy.
1/2 ounce Charbay Blood Orange vodka
2 ounces blood orange juice
3 ounces Prosecco
Mix ingredients and pour over ice. Garnish with blood orange and lemon wedges.
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