Last August, my family was lucky enough to travel to Italy, and I learned something that probably a lot of people already know…
The world’s most satisfying thing to drink in the summer — whether you are at a beachside café in Taormina or in your backyard smack in the middle of suburbia — is an Aperol Spritz, preferably served alongside a bowl of salty potato chips. Low in alcohol, easy to mix, and eminently drinkable (remember the 24 hours when this was debated and, thank goodness, defended?), it’s become my go-to aperitif when people come over for dinner.
We like them so much in our house that it made me wonder what else we should be exploring and enjoying out there in spritz world. Technically, a spritz is defined as some combination of prosecco (extra dry is a good idea), soda water, and bitters (like Angostura, Campari, Aperol), but for this round-up, I’m just gonna say, if it’s bubbly and refreshing and tastes unmistakably like summer, it totally counts.
How to Make: 3 ounces prosecco, 2 ounces Aperol, 1 ounce soda water; garnish: orange wedge
When to Make: As the perfect day drink or an early evening aperitif; accompanying a small bowl of salty potato chips (I’d argue strongly for Cape Cod Original Kettle); poolside, oceanside, riverside, sprinkler-side
How to Make: 2 ounces prosecco, 1 1/2 ounces St-Germain (Elderflower liqueur), 2 ounces soda water; garnish: lemon twist
When to Make: When your most sophisticated friend is coming over; when you’ve got a bottle of St-Germain just lying around; when you want something light and floral
How to Make: 1 1/2 ounces sweet vermouth, 1 1/2 ounces Campari, 1 1/2 ounces prosecco; garnish: orange twist
When to Make: When you’re craving the taste of a Negroni, but not the strength of a Negroni (the usual gin is replaced with sparkling wine); when you want to hit a thousand likes on Instagram
Cucumber Ginger Fizz
How to Make: 2 ounces soda water, 2 ounces cucumber juice (blend peeled, seeded cucumbers with a little water, then strain; plan on 1 medium size cucumber per cocktail), 1/2 ounces ginger syrup, 1/2 ounces lime juice, garnish: lime or cucumber wedge
When to Make: When you want to offer something special and alcohol-free; when it’s cucumber-palooza in the garden and you can’t use them up fast enough; when you have a little time on your hands
How to Make: 1 ounce fresh grapefruit juice, 4 ounces unsweetened grapefruit soda, 4 dashes Angostura bitters; garnish: grapefruit wedge
When to Make: When you want to set out a pre-made pitcher for your party; when you’re hosting that friend who complains about puppies, love sonnets, and things that are “too sweet”
White Wine Spritzer
How to Make: 3/4 cup white wine, 1/4 cup club soda; garnish: lemon wheel
When to Make: When you want to channel the ’80s; when you have a bunch of people over and you can’t deal with making complicated cocktails; when it’s one of those golden, honeysuckle-infused summer nights and you just want one glass of something to celebrate its fleeting magic
Thoughts? Which would you choose? Anything to add?
P.S. Nine favorite summer recipes, a trick for choosing wine, and an easy way to make new friends.
(Photos of the spritzes by Yossy Arefi for Cup of Jo. Graphic design by Maud Passini.)