By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Feb 02, 2018 at 1:02 PM

The folks behind Sprezzatura, the Italian pop-up concept launched last January, have some new treats in store thanks to a year-long residency at the Phoenix Cocktail Club, 785 N. Jefferson St.

Beginning on Monday, Feb. 5, Sprezzatura will debut a special menu of modern Italian happy hour fare every Monday evening from 2 to 6 p.m. throughout 2018.

The weekly pop-up concept was born when the Sprezzatura trio – composed of Jordan Burich, Chef Erik Hansen and Caressa Givens – collaborated with general manager Adam Sarkis of Phoenix Cocktail Club on an event last April called "A Bitter Embrace," a pop-up dinner featuring creative courses paired with a variety of Italian amari. 

"I really enjoy working with Adam [Sarkis]," Burich notes, "We share a love of Italian-inspired cocktails and cocktail history. So when he asked if we wanted to showcase what we do best, as well as have a space to experiment and grow our cocktail program. How could we refuse? For us, it’s a great way to intensify our project by doing something regularly scheduled."

The new Monday night happy hour series is based in the tradition of Italian aperitivo, a post-work ritual during which Italians enjoy relaxing conversation over snacks, wine and cocktails before dinner.

The ongoing "Aperitivo" will feature a focused list of Italian cocktails – including both experimental concoctions and classics like the negroni, bellini and spritz – along with a short list of wines, weekly "50/50" shots and simple Italian-inspired snacks. Throughout the series, nibbles will feature inspired offerings based in primarily northern Italian cuisine, but also rustic flavors from southern Italy, Sicily and Sardinia.

"Milwaukeeans and Italians both revere happy hour as a time of the day for frivolity and community" notes Burich, "And while Sprezzatura has become known for coursed-out curated dinners and such, we have always made space for pre-dinner drinks. ‘Aperitivo’ is an opportunity for us to emphasize the casual elegance part of our mission statement. Our goal is to bring people together and transport them to northern Italy for a few hours during the week."

And there’s more Italian inspiration to come. Burich says that 2018 will bring even more Sprezzatura activity as the partners continue to explore and cultivate the synergy between Italian food, art and cocktails.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.