In Food + Drink

Everything You Need To Know To Nail The Summer Spritz

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It’s that time of year again, when the weather heats up, our minds turn to beach vibes and barbecues, and locals bars become a whole lot more orange, thanks to our national obsession with Aperol spritz.

“By nature, spritzes are fun – some classic cocktails come with their sets of rules and recipes, the spritz is a little looser and a little bit more carefree,” says drinks expert Charlie Ainsbury.

Ainsbury is arguably Australia’s leading expert on all things spritz. The twice-crowned Australian Bartender of the Year is also the former co-owner of This Must Be The Place (a dedicated spritz bar in Sydney’s Darlinghurst).

As Dan Murphy’s spirit ambassador, he says the entire spritz category – not just the orange-flavoured varietals – are perfect for the festive period.

“I think Australians are embracing the spritz for a number of reasons. It suits our climate and with our love for the outdoors, being by the beach or having parties in our backyard, in a warm environment it makes sense to have something cold, bubbly and easy to drink.”

The secret to a good spritz

The classic summer spritz Photo: Aperol Spritz/Facebook

For Ainsbury, the beauty of the drink lies in the fact that almost anyone can become a master of the style.

“It doesn’t take much to be an expert – stay open-minded and experiment with different liqueurs, fortified wines, sparkling, sodas, and garnishes,” he says.

“Spritzes are cold, effervescent and easy-to-make and they offer up something different in your drinking repertoire.”

The secret to making a good one is simple: you just have to remember the two main ingredients.

First, your liqueur. Traditionally, this is a wine-based and bitter. Think Aperol, Campari or Vermouths. This gives body to your drink. While it’s perfectly fine to use sweet liqueurs, just remember that these are often higher in sugar.

Secondly, your bubbles. Prosecco is the traditional choice/option, however any dry sparkling wine will work well. Traditionally, a dash of soda water is added to loosen up the drink and lower the alcoholic content but you can experiment with tonics, ginger ales or anything else with bubbles.

A continuing trend for summer

An elderflower spritz Photo: St-Germain/Facebook

While the Aperol spritz has benefited from promotions and popularity, Ainsbury is anticipating that people will be more inclined to switch things up this summer.

“As spritz drinkers are well and truly educated on the Aperol Spritz, we are going to see other brands pop-up in the market with their versions of the spritz. Look out for other Italian brands of bitter or vermouths such as Rinomato and Mancino,” he says.

Rum spritzers are already starting to gather some pace, adding a little extra kick to the traditional style. Start with a basic mix of 20ml each of Campari and white rum, 40ml of dry white wine and 15mL of lemon juice, poured over ice and topped with soda water and orange slices.

An elderflower spritz is even easier, with a simple mix of two parts each of soda and prosecco to one-part St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur – finished with a twist of lemon peel threaded through the ice to elevate things.

Summer in a glass

But Ainsbury’s go-to spritzes, the ones that will leave your taste buds tingling and you standing out from the stock-standard Aperol crowd, are a little bit more adventurous (but no harder to make).

From a man who has carbonated and spritzed everything from tea and fruit wines to shrubs and seeds – you’re bound to remember these beauties long after the ice has melted and summer has gone. Happy spritzing.

How To Make A Belafonte Spritz

“Fino Sherry and Prosecco are our main components to this spritz, balanced with a touch of lemon and sugar. A little touch of gin adds a slight botanical note, acting as a kind of ‘seasoning’ to the drink,” says Ainsbury.

10ml Gin

20ml Tio Pepe Fino Sherry

15ml Sugar Syrup

15ml Lemon Juice

100ml Prosecco

Pour over ice in a wine glass and garnish with a fresh basil sprig.

How To Make A Rosella Spritz

“This is a lovely bittersweet variation of the spritz with sweetness and fruitiness coming from the touch of raspberry liqueur,” says Ainsbury.

60ml Australian Okar Amaro

10ml Giffard Framboise (Tayberry Liqueur)

100ml Sparkling Wine

Pour over ice in a wine glass. Garnish with rose petals or other edible flowers.

How To Make A White Dove Spritz

“A subtle twist on the spritz with the unlikely but welcome addition of tequila. Mancino vermouth is our base here and provides the body to the drink whilst the tequila adds an earthy and vegetal note. Instead of a sparkling wine, I’ve opted to keep the bubbles non-alcoholic and used the brilliant East Imperial Grapefruit Tonic for the fizz,” says Ainsbury.

60ml Mancino Bianco Ambrato Vermouth

10ml Blanco Tequila

120ml East Imperial Grapefruit Tonic

Pour over ice in a wine glass. Garnish with a slice of pink grapefruit.

 

Published 13 December, 2018