That's why I believe the ULTIMATE and most REFRESHING summertime wine beverage is a classic Italian Spritz!
An Italian Spritz, technically a "cocktail", is wine-based with crisp and bubbly prosecco that's served over ice. Traditional spritzes are known to be aperitivos (or apéritifs), which is a fancy Italian word for a beverage meant to open a meal. They are broken into two main subcategories: bitter liquors and aromatized wines. A spritz is a concoction of both subcategories plus soda water with is an optional addition that lightens up the intensity.
So how do you make a Spritz? Luckily, the proportions are as easy as 1 - 2 - 3 to remember!
- 1 - part soda water (optional)
- 2 - parts bitter liquor
- 3 - parts aromatized wine (Prosecco!)
- Fill a large wine glass with ice.
- Add your apéritif of choice, then Prosecco. Stir gently to combine. Top with soda if desired for a lighter variation.
- Garish with your choice of an orange slice, lemon slice, briny olive, or rosemary sprig!
Unsure of what apéritif liquor to get?
For your aperitif / bitter liquor - there are many different kinds on the market that you can use. And before you resort to the fan-favorite (Aperol) check out the variety of other options available!
- Aperol has a sweet citrusy flavor and a distinctive bright orange hue. Most people associate the spritz cocktail with Aperol due to its widespread popularity (and some smart marketing on the part of the brand).
- Campari is more bitter than Aperol, with a deep red color. It has a bit of cherry and herbal undertones, as well as a bit of cinnamon.
- L'Aperitivo Nonino is one of my current favorite aperitif to make spritzes with! It's fresh and fruity with citrus notes and scents of soft fruits and is lightly bitter. I find the botanical and herbaceous flavors to be really refreshing!
- Cappelletti, a wine-based aperitif that falls somewhere in between Aperol and Campari in terms of bitterness. I taste a hint of citrus, vanilla, and cola, likely a result of the ‘secret’ blend of herbs and spices used to make this ruby-red aperitif.
- Cynar is definitely for someone looking for something outside the box! This aperitif is more bitter than Campari, mostly made from artichokes (yes, artichokes!) and its own special blend of herbs and other plants.
Curious on what exactly Prosecco is and what kind to get to make your spritzes?
As for your sparkling wine base - I always gravitate towards Prosecco because it's the best sparkling wine made in Italy. Prosecco is a wine made with 100% or at least 85% of the Glera grape. The most common Prosecco comes from the Italian provinces of Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia. An easy way to tell it's from those places is by locating the DOC sticker on the bottle.
TIP: If you are just wanting to make a few drinks and feel like opening a whole bottle would be wasteful, I recommend getting the mini-bottle sizes. 187ml bottle sizes are pretty popular sizes for sparkling wine. If they aren't right next to the full-size bottles, look for them in their own section.
Interested in learning more about spritzes? Check out this book on Amazon!