It’s hot, way too damn hot here in Seattle. Since that’s the case, we’ve been having more light, refreshing, club soda-heavy drinks after dinner rather than our usual practice of having a splash of brandy or whiskey. Actually, we’ve been having them before dinner too, come to think of it ;). The Germans call them spritzers, the Italians call them spritzes, and we call them delicious. Read on to find out what fizzy drinks we’ve been mixing up.
When it’s hot out, there’s nothing like a nice light sparkling drink accompanied by the refreshing sound of ice cubes tinkling in the glass. As is typical in the booze world, there’s no single official drink category for light refreshing fizzy drinks. The Spritzer comes from Germany and usually consists of white wine and soda water. The Spritz is the Italian equivalent, though the Italians typically use soda, an additional bitter aperitif or liqueur, and prosecco in place of the still wine, ’cause hey, what isn’t better with the addition of prosecco? Of course, we here at Booze Nerds are happy that spritz recipes are pretty forgiving and vary enough to be open to interpretation. It gives us room to experiment and see what tasty concoctions we can come up with.
First up, we iterate on the classic Aperol Spritz. Traditionally made, it is a tasty drink in its own right, but we decided to up the orange flavor by adding a splash of Cointreau and an orange twist. Turns out our intuition that that would be delicious was right. We love it when that happens!
- 1 1/4 oz Aperol
- 1/2 oz Cointreau
- 3 oz sparkling wine
- 1 oz soda
Pour over ice. Garnish with an orange twist. Cheers!
- Nose: Fresh orange juice, fresh orange peel, candied orange peel. Lots of orange, very orangey ;).
- Palate: Orange juice, wine tartness and mineral notes to start. Orange candy, caramelized cooked orange, and white wine on the mid-palate. Finish is mildly sweet with some bracing bitter notes. Aftertaste is quite bitter.
Our version adds some really nice layers of orange, so if you like orange, this is a drink for you.
Next up, we decided to play around with Suze. Suze is a bitter French liqueur or aperitif (depending on which part of the label you read). It has some lemon peel and pith notes but it is definitely dominated by the bitter gentian notes. We wanted to amp up the lemon flavor while keeping the drink pretty clean, so we started by paring the Suze with a splash of yummy limoncello and topping it off with club soda. This time it turns out our choices were wrong. The final drink just wasn’t up to snuff. It was sweet and flat and rather one note. So we went back to the basics, adding the sparkling wine back in for acidity and general character. Better but still not wonderful, a little muddy and a touch too sweet. We dropped the limoncello, and then we had something to work with. Herbal, bitter, mildly sweet, cold, effervescent. However, we still really wanted to up the lemon characteristics of the Suze. Throwing in a couple of lemon twists did the trick of adding some nice bright lemon notes.
- 2 oz Suze
- 3 1/2 oz sparkling wine
- 1 oz club soda
Pour ingredients over ice. Garnish with two lemon twists. Enjoy!
- Nose: Very pretty nose. Lemon, honeydew, strong perfume-y floral notes like jasmine or lily, a touch of woody green bitterness.
- Palate: Wine and green vegetal notes (almost like green bell pepper) to start. Lemon, lemon peel, delicate floral notes on the mid-palate. Very bitter herbal finish with some structure provided by the wine’s acidity.
Yum! Nothing like a drink with plenty of ice and carbonation to cool you off. As a bonus, these are also pretty low alcohol since they are based on aperitivi (Aperol is 11% ABV, Suze is 20% ABV). You can have a couple and put your afternoon or evening into proper perspective without getting three sheets. Mix one up, sit in front of the fan, and swirl your glass to listen to the ice cubes chime together. It ain’t AC, but meh, close enough.