There’s something classy about a spritz. Even the name sounds a bit flashy – and brimming with summer vibes.
But what is at the heart of this Italian drink?
“There are countless ways to make a fizzy cocktail, but not all of them can be called a spritz,” writes Danielle Centoni in her new book, Just a Spritz: 57 easy sparkling sips with little to no alcohol.
“A spritz can be made with almost any bubbly and any spirit, but in order for it to hold true to form a spritz it must be: low in alcohol, bubbly, refreshing, at least a little bitter, the opposite of being picky.”
The book promises to help you achieve “spritz perfection” – from how to make a spritz, to easy-to-make sour and sweet syrups and juicy bushes, to the importance of garnishes and how they “add panache to a spritz.”
Here are three book favorites to get the aperitivo party going…
1. The Hugo
This youngster in the spritz canon is ideal for those craving the taste of juicy lime, with mint and elderflower adding a sweet and airy refreshment.
A lime juice-enhanced riff on the original, created in 2005 by bartender Roland ‘AK’ Gruber in the South Tyrol region of Italy, went viral and for good reason.
Ingredients: 60ml St Germain elderflower liqueur, 7ml fresh lime juice, 90ml prosecco (chilled), 30ml elderflower tonic water, 2 sprigs of mint and 2 lime wedges for garnish.
Method: Crush the leaves of 1 sprig of mint in a sturdy wine glass. Fill the glass three quarters with ice and pour the St Germain, lime juice and prosecco over the ice. Finish with the elderflower tonic. Stir gently to combine. Garnish with the remaining sprig of mint and tuck the lime wedges between the ice and the side of the glass.
2. Blueberry Lemonade Spritz
If you can’t resist the yin and yang of tart lemons and sweet blueberries, you’ll love this cute pink-purple spritz.
The muddled thyme adds an herbal dimension that makes it feel a little more mature.
Ingredients: 35g fresh blueberries, 2 sprigs of thyme, 30ml fresh lemon juice, 30ml simple syrup, 90ml prosecco, chilled, 30ml elderflower tonic. Skewered blueberries, for garnish.
Method: Crush the blueberries and 1 of the thyme sprigs in a sturdy wine glass. Fill the glass three quarters full with ice and stir. Pour the lemon juice, syrup and prosecco over the ice and finish with the elderflower tonic. Stir gently to combine and garnish with the remaining sprig of thyme and a skewer of blueberries.
3. The Starburst
We all know the best Starburst candy is the orange, right? Right?
Well, even if you don’t agree, as long as you like orange flavors, you’ll love this spritz. This is the drink to serve to friends who don’t want anything too tannic, and the proportions are very easy to remember.
The blood orange soda makes it super juicy and downplays the bitterness of the Aperol. If you can handle a bit more bite, use Campari instead of Aperol.
Ingredients: 60 ml Aperol or Campari, 60 ml Sanpellegrino Aranciata or Aranciata Rossa soft drink, 60 ml prosecco, chilled. Blood orange slice for garnish.
Method: Fill a wine glass three quarters full with ice. Pour the Aperol, orange soda and prosecco over the ice. Stir gently to combine. Place the orange wheel between the ice and the side of the glass.
Withdrawn from Just a Spritz: 57 easy sparkling sips with little to no alcohol, by Danielle Centoni, photography by Eric Medsker, published by Artisan Books. Now available.