The Spritz isn’t just a drink. It’s a way of life, characterized by hours spent soaking up the sun on a patio lounger or at the table with friends, laughs and a leisurely three-hour afternoon snooze-inducing lunch. Above all, it’s part of that easy, breezy, carefree summer attitude we all crave–and best of all, it requires absolutely no need for a cocktail shaker. Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, considered the official kickoff of summer in the states, these libations can be built in the glass over ice (we’ll even give you a pass on the jigger and give you permission to eyeball the amounts… shhhh!). A Spritz always delivers a fizzy fix that’s low on ABV but high on flavor that much quicker, leaving you more time to inflate your pool float or work on your tan. Is there any question that the Italians do it better? Affatto.
Dirty Martini Spritz
Recipe courtesy of Nick Farrell, Spirits Manager, Hazel, Washington, D.C.
The latest addition to the inviting patio at this restaurant in Shaw is Farrell’s Spritz Cart, which comes stocked with the fixings to mix up four effervescent elixirs. “When it’s hot out, you want something thirst quenching that’s not too boozy,” he says. “A spritz hits these notes, so it seemed right to offer a classic plus some fun variations.” His savory version is made for Dirty Martini fans who don’t want to fall over in the hot summer sun after two drinks.
“The inspiration for this cocktail came from the Amalfi Coast, which is beautiful and where the lemons are grown for the limoncello made by the Pallini family,” explains beverage director Erin Ward. “The cocktail’s light and refreshing flavors will make you enjoy the spring and summer sunshine, and hopefully transport you to the blue waters on the Amalfi Coast.”
Build the drink in a stemmed wine glass over ice, topping with the Prosecco and club soda to taste. Stir gently, and garnish with the lemon wheel and mint sprig.
Blueberry Basil Spritz
Recipe courtesy of Cory Lattuca, executive food and beverage director, Grimaldi’s, multiple locations
Lattuca wanted to create a unique cocktail that wasn’t just thirst-quenching, but tied into the restaurant’s cuisine. “The Botanist Gin (silver medal, 2018 NY International Spirits Competition) has the perfect blend of botanicals to really make the blueberry pop, and is complemented by the subtle hint of basil.”
Build the drink in a wine glass over ice, topping with soda water. Stir gently and garnish with smacked basil leaves.
U Spritzino al Mentastro (Mint Spritz)
Recipe courtesy of Claudia de Pace-Botardo, bar manager, Bella Gioia, New York, NY
“I just think the mint spritz is the perfect spring [and] summer aperitivo,” says chef and owner Nicol Daniele. “It bursts with fresh flavors and reminds me of sitting on a terrace along the coastline of Sicily.” Here, the refreshing flavor of mint is joined by the bracing taste of Sambuca; bubbles ramp up the aromatics.
½ oz/15 mL Sambuca
2 oz/60 mL mint syrup (see below)
Chilled Prosecco, to top
Mint leaf, for garnish
Build the glass in a rocks glass over ice, topping with Prosecco. Stir gently and garnish with the mint leaf.
Combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until sugar is dissolved. Remove it from the heat and add a bunch of mint. Steep for 15 minutes or until desired flavor is achieved. Strain out solids and store the syrup in the refrigerator for up to a week.
The Walking Florist
Recipe courtesy of Jon Howard, head bartender, The Henley, Nashville, TN
Howard was inspired to make a warm weather drink as an homage to the walking florists of the 1900s, he says. “[It] is a simple Spritz-style drink with sweet honey notes [from mead], bright beautiful citrus thanks for the Don Ciccio & Figli Mandarinetto Liqueur and lavender soda.”
1 oz/30 mL Don Ciccio & Figli Mandarinetto, or Cointreau
2 oz/60 mL lavender soda (Dry Soda, or house made)
Orange wheel, for garnish
Build the glass in a large wine glass over ice, topping with the soda. Stir gently, and garnish with the orange wheel.
Summer Ale Spritz
The spritz is traditionally considered a sparkling water or wine concoction, but a light-flavored beer can sub for those ingredients. Sam Adams Summer Ale creates a refreshing canvas for building the citrusy notes of Aperol and an herbal syrup in bartender Rael Petit’s frosty, blended recipe.
1 bottle of Sam Adams Summer Ale
1 oz/30 mL Rosemary Syrup*
1 oz/30 mL lemon juice
0.75 oz/22 mL Aperol
Add Sam Adams Summer Ale, rosemary syrup, lemon juice and in a blender and fill with ice. Blend ingredients. Pour in a tall beer glass and top with an Aperol float. Garnish with a rosemary sprig.
In a saucepan, combine 250 mL of sugar and 250 mL of water. Add a handful of rosemary and cook on high for 7 minutes, while stirring the sugar to dissolve. After 7 minutes, let it cool for another 7 minutes and then strain.
Kelly Magyarics, DWS, is a wine, spirits and lifestyle writer, and wine educator, in the Washington, D.C. area. She can be reached through her website www.kellymagyarics.com or follow her @kmagyiarics.