If you thought the Aperol Spritz was the only spritz out there, brace yourself. There is a world of spritz cocktails. The Spritz has a fascinating history and many variations to discover. Luckily, they are all low-alcohol, so perfect for session drinking so you can try them all.
So let’s explore all there is to know about the best all-day drinking, summer cocktails. And for your next pool party, you’ll be putting on ‘The Spritz”!
What is a spritz?
The famous spritz cocktail is a concoction of wine and soda. The drink hails from Venice Italy and the Veneto region where it made its way into popular culture. The Venetians serve it with local wines including Prosecco and Pinot Grigio.
The original spritz of two centuries ago was a simple recipe of wine and water. But over time, the popular aperitif cocktail evolved. First, still water was replaced by soda. Next, wine with prosecco. And eventually, liqueurs such as Aperol were added to soda and prosecco, making the spritz we know and love today.
Where did the spritz originate?
The Venetian spritz (wine, prosecco, and bitter liqueur) dates back to the 1920s. However, the very original goes way back.
In fact, the first Spritz was created in the 1800s, during the Habsburg Empire in Veneto. The newcomers were not accustomed to the strong wines of Veneto, so they began asking the barkeeps to spray (spray meaning ‘spritz’ in German) a little water in the wine to make it lighter and to their taste. As a result, the spritz was invented, originating as a concoction of sparkling white or red wine diluted with still water.
It wasn’t until the 1920s that the spritz was elevated with local bitters, the most famous, of course, being Aperol. And just when we thought the Spritz couldn’t get any better, someone decided to change the recipe in the 1970s and switch still wine with Prosecco, a sparkling white wine from Italy.
Despite its evolving recipe, the original spritz is still served in Veneto today.
Spritz vs Spritzer
Though they seem rather interchangeable, spritz and spritzer are two completely different drinks.
Firstly, the spritz has an official recipe, known as the 3-2-1 ratio. In contrast, the spritzer ratio varies and is usually lower in alcohol than a spritz.
Secondly, a spritzer is a mix of wine and seltzer water, eg club soda or sparkling mineral water (generally 3 parts wine + 1 part soda). Thus, the spritzer tends to be flavour neutral. On the other hand, a spritz is packed with flavour. Spritz can be made with liqueurs, syrups, and even fruit, such as strawberries, passionfruit, blackcurrants, pink grapefruit – you name it!
Aperol Spritz: the World’s most popular spritz cocktail
Yes, we have all heard of Aperol Spritz. It is, no doubt, the most common spritz out there and a staple in any bar over summer.
But here is something about Aperol you may not have heard of. Aperol is an Italian bitter aperitif with a vibrant orange hue, invented by the Barbieri brothers in Padova in 1919. The liqueur gets its flavour from citrus oils (sweet and bitter oranges), rhubarb, and gentian root. With a bitter-sweet, citrusy taste, it is a go-to spritz ingredient.
The Aperol Spritz is made with Aperol, prosecco, and a splash of soda water. It’s best served over ice with a wedge of orange. Here is the recipe.
- 60ml Aperol
- 90ml Prosecco
- 30ml soda water
- Slice of orange
- Fill a white wine glass with ice cubes
- Measure 60ml of Aperol and add to glass
- Measure 90ml of prosecco and add to glass
- Top with 30ml of soda water
- Add a slice of orange and a straw
The Aperol Spritz is the king of summer cocktails, ideal for barbeques, pool parties, business lunches or date nights. It’s arguably the most iconic spritz cocktail and it’s loved worldwide for good reason.
The golden 3-2-1 spritz formula
Now, we’ve got you hooked on spritz cocktails, you’re probably ready to fly out the door to buy a bottle of Aperol, right? Well, hold fire. Not every spritz needs Aperol. “Say what?!”
With the golden 3-2-1 formula, the perfect spritz can use any number of liqueurs and spirits in replace of Aperol.
With the classic recipe. you are one step closer to that Sunday session with friends, mixing a range of spritz cocktails to delight your friends.
So, what is the classic spritz recipe? Here it is:
- three parts prosecco
- two parts liqueur (your choice!)
- one part soda water
A spritz is best served over ice in a white wine glass. But don’t forget to put out some savoury snacks if you want to be a perfect host. Think potato chips, crackers, and dips, or a grazing platter. They all make great nibbles to serve with a spritz cocktail on a Sunday afternoon.
5 popular spritz recipes that don’t use Aperol
Now, don’t forget you can simply swap Aperol for a similar bitter aperitif, such as Campari or Cynar. But why would you when you can have something completely different?
Spritz cocktails can range from sweet to savoury, depending on the ingredients used. That’s right, they don’t have to be bitter-sweet, which is great news, given everyone’s palates vary.
- Elderflower Spritz. Sweet, floral, and fragrant with notes of pear and passionfruit, elderflower liqueurs make an excellent spritz. Served with a lemon twist.
- Limoncello Spritz. Syrupy sweet with an intense flavour of lemons (as you’d expect from a liqueur made from lemon zest), Limoncello is another sensational option for a spritz. Serve with a sprig of rosemary, mint, basil, or thyme for freshness.
- Cassis Spritz. Crème de cassis is a sweet French liqueur made from macerated black currants. Great for a spritz, because who doesn’t love berries?
- Cointreau Spritz. Sweet and bitter orange with warm spices, this aromatic French liqueur could be your next go-to spritz ingredient.
- Pimms Spritz. You’ve heard of the Pimms Cup, but did you know that Pimms also makes a lovely spritz? In this one swap the soda for lemonade and voila!
And there’s no limit to what flavours you can use if you want to get creative. Try jalapeno, ginger, lime, berries, muddled mint, earl grey tea, and… well, you name it!
How to garnish a spritz
Garnishing a spritz can be one of the most fun and creative parts to making a spritz. But you have to know what goes best with what. By that, we mean that the flavour of the garnish must match or complement the flavour of the spritz cocktail.
For example, if your liqueur has an orange flavour, a slice of orange is the obvious choice of garnish. But you could also use an olive for something salty and savoury to compliment the orange flavour. In fact, this is commonly done with the Venetian Spritz.
Citrus slices are the most common garnishes, but savoury foods like cucumber and olives, as well as herbs, are also widely used.
The Grapefruit Spritz
As they say, you save the best til last. And can you think of anything more refreshing than a Grapefruit Spritz? It’s our most popular cocktail kit ever!
Our Grapefruit Spritz Cocktail Kit mixes Aussie gin, salted grapefruit, prosecco, and sugar syrup for the most refreshing spritz cocktail ever! Ok, we are biased. But it is truly delicious. And it comes complete with all the ingredients and instructions you need to make the perfect spritz.
Putting on the Spritz
Summer calls for refreshing cocktails you can drink all day. And you can make the drinks that much more exciting at your next backyard party. Just swap basic wine and hard seltzers for spritz cocktails.
Whether you go for the crowd-pleasing Aperol Spritz, venture out with one of the five other popular spritz recipes in this article, or invent your own, putting on “The Spritz” will be sure to impress your guests.
Then, when you can’t get together with friends far away, send them a Grapefruit Spritz Cocktail Kit. Because who doesn’t love a prezzie?!