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Expand Your Summer Spritz Game This Weekend With These Easy Recipes


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There’s a certain lightness to a spritz that exudes summer vibes. The mix of Italian digestive bitters, dry sparkling white wines, and bubbly water has an effervescence and low-alcohol content that fits perfectly with the whole let’s-day-drink-the-heat-of-a-summer-day-away ethos. In fact, though it’s no paloma, a spritz might be one of the best summer drinks ever invented.

What is a “spritz” exactly? It’s an Italian cocktail that has a digestive bitters base (that’s a liqueur made with botanicals) with splashes of dry white sparkling wine and topped up with sparkling water. It’s very low alcohol, given the low ABVs of both digestive bitters and sparkling wines. Plus, you’re getting nourishing water with every sip. So, yeah, this is the perfect day-drinking cocktail.

To help you get into the spritz spirit this summer, we thought we’d share eight of our favorite variations on the style. These are eight spritzes that any burgeoning home bartender can make in a snap. We’ve specifically kept the recipes broad. This is about pouring booze in a glass and not painstakingly measuring half-ounces of this or that.

Aperol Spitz

The Aperol Spritz is the most accessible spritz you’ll find. Aperol is a sweet mix of gentian (a root with a blue flower), rhubarb, and cinchona (a bitter red flower). The spritz has a nice balance of very light herbal bitterness next to a saccharine sweet edge. The addition of bubbles opens up the bitters and tames them a bit, creating a refreshing balance.

Recipe:

Build in a large red wine glass as follows

  • Fill with Ice
  • Two-count-pour Sparkling Water
  • Four-count-pour Sparkling White Wine (preferably dry Prosecco)
  • Four-count-pour Aperol
  • Garnish with an Orange Wheel
  • Serve

St-Germain Spritz

New York’s St-Germain is an elderflower liqueur that hits on smooth herbaceousness. In spritz form, the drink transports you to a wildflower field on a sunny day in the French countryside. It’s amazingly smooth and works wonders with a dry bubbly. If you’re into a more floral and less bitter spritz, this is the play.

Recipe:

Build in a large highball glass as follows

  • Fill with Ice
  • Two-count-pour Sparkling Water
  • Four-count-pour Sparkling White Wine (preferably dry Champagne)
  • Three-count-pour St-Germain
  • Garnish with a Lemon Peel
  • Serve

Americano

A classic Americano is a stronger version of a spritz. In this case, Aperol is switched out for bitter Campari, which has twice the ABV as Aperol. The dark red bitter then combines with fortified wine instead of sparkling wine and, finally, sparkling water is added to bring in the bubbles.

The drink is hefty and refreshing and will give you the perfect day-drinking buzz with big Campari bitter notes.

Recipe:

Build in a large rocks glass as follows

  • Fill with Ice
  • Two-count-pour Sparkling Water
  • Three-count-pour Sweet Vermouth
  • Three-count-pour Campari
  • Garnish with an Orange Slice and Lemon Peel
  • Serve

Bicicletta

Sticking with the big bitter notes of Campari, the Bicicletta (Italian for bicycle) is a more nuanced version of the classic spritz. In this case, the sparkling white wine is swapped out for a dry white wine, sans sparkles. Otherwise, the recipe is the same with a nice dose of minerally sparkling water and a heavy pour of Campari. The overall taste is smoothed out by the white wine, leaving plenty of space for the botanical bitterness to shine.

Recipe:

Build in a large red wine glass as follows

  • Fill with Ice
  • Two-count-pour Sparkling Water
  • Four-count-pour Dry White Wine (preferably dry Italian)
  • Four-count-pour Campari
  • Garnish with an Orange Peel
  • Serve

Amaro Spritz

Amaro Lucano is a bitter liqueur made from 12 different barks, herbs, and botanicals including absinthe. This is an intense herb-forward drink on its own. A nice dry sparkling white wine and sparkling water help make it potable. In fact, if you’re into big notes of spicy herbs, then this is the spritz for you.

Recipe:

Build in a large red wine glass as follows

  • Fill with Ice
  • Two-count-pour Sparkling Water
  • Four-count-pour Sparkling White Wine (preferably dry Prosecco)
  • Three-count-pour Amaro
  • Garnish with an Orange Wedge
  • Serve

Cynar Spritz

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This is probably the most interesting and acquired-taste spritz on the list. Cynar is a bitter made with 13 herbs, spices, and fruits including artichoke. This one has a rich umami base with clear spiciness. When it’s in spritz form, the Cynar feels almost meaty, with a bubbly edge. If you’re grilling steaks and mushrooms in the backyard, this is the way to go.

Recipe:

Build in a large red wine glass as follows

  • Fill with Ice
  • Two-count-pour Sparkling Water
  • Three-count-pour Cynar
  • Four-count-pour Sparkling White Wine (preferably dry Prosecco)
  • Garnish with a Lemon Peel and two Green Olives
  • Serve

Amalfi Spritz

Italy’s Amalfi coast is one of the most gorgeous corners of Europe. The local take on a spritz tries to capture that beauty in a glass. The addition of local limoncello (a lemon-based sweet liqueur) and fresh pineapple juice brings a whole new dimension to the spritz game. The sweetness of the Aperol is balanced well with the acidic cut of the lemon and pineapple. This is an addictive spritz that might dominate the rest of your summer.

Recipe:

Build in a large white wine glass as follows

  • Fill with Ice
  • One-count-pour Sparkling Water
  • One-count-pour fresh Pineapple Juice
  • One-count-pour Limoncello
  • Four-count-pour Sparkling White Wine (preferably dry Prosecco)
  • Two-count-pour Aperol
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel
  • Serve

Campari Spritz

Let’s end with a stone-cold classic spritz. Where Aperol tends to lean more towards sweetness than botanical bitter, Campari goes the opposite direction. This is pure bitter with a nice hint of sweetness far away in the background. When you add dry sparkling white wine and bubbly water to the mix, that bitterness smoothes out into a delightful and very refreshing drink that’s as easy to drink as it is to make.

Recipe:

Build in a large red wine glass as follows

  • Fill with Ice
  • Two-count-pour Sparkling Water
  • Four-count-pour Sparkling White Wine (preferably dry Prosecco)
  • Three-count-pour Campari
  • Garnish with an Orange Wedge
  • Serve
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