Easy Drinking: The Spritz
To truly know where you’re going, it’s important to know where you’ve been. This sentiment rings especially true when it comes to cocktails. It’s not uncommon for bartenders to look to the past for inspiration as they concoct new and exciting cocktails. This issue we show you how you can use a classic cocktail recipe as a springboard for your own creations, and we can’t think of a better place to start than the Spritz.
Though we know the Spritz to come from Italian origin, it was actually German soldiers who first concocted this delicious drink in Veneto in the late 1800s. As an occupying force in Italy during the height of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the soldiers were unable to get their hands on their own beloved beverage, beer. As Italian wines were of a higher ABV than the traditional German beer, and not quite as refreshing, the soldiers began asking for a ‘spritzen’, or splash, of soda water to cut the stronger flavor and alcohol content of the wines.
Eventually, the Spritz began to take on a life of its own with the addition of herbal liqueurs and aperitifs like Campari, Zucca, Aperol and Cynar. Bright, bubbly and accessible, the Spritz can be enjoyed any time of day (and all day if you’re Venetian, where, reportedly, 200 Spritzes per minute are consumed on a daily basis).
Riffs on this classic delight are abundant and with good reason. The Spritz recipe is a great foundation for experimentation. By playing around with different liqueurs, using unique and interesting styles of sparkling wine, and incorporating aromatic garnishes such as fresh herbs and citrus peel, one can come up with countless variations. If you’re looking for something a little lighter, a splash of soda water will do the trick. If you really want to push it, you could try using another effervescent non-alcoholic beverage such as ginger beer or tonic. There are no hard rules here. If you’re looking for a good starting point try 1 part liqueur to 4 parts sparkling, over ice. Give it a taste and adjust to suit your palate and garnish appropriately! -AH