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The Aperol Spritz has become so popular, so mainstream, they are now selling convenient single-serve bottles of the bubbly, neon orange aperitivo cocktail. But as we set our sights on warmer days ahead, it may be useful to remember that there is more to the bitter and bubbly spritz category.
As a cocktail, a spritz isn’t only fun to say, with just a few ingredients, these sparkling and low alcohol drinks are simple to mix. (It’s equally enjoyable as a zero-alcohol cocktail, using the growing range of non-alcohol spirits on the market.) The traditional 3-2-1 ratio is three parts Prosecco, two parts bitter liqueur (often Italian staples Aperol, Campari or Cynar), and a splash of soda water, stirred gently and served on ice in a large wine glass. The classic garnish is an orange slice or, better yet, an olive to amplify the bittersweet and savoury side of the drink.
All credit to its Italian innovators, the spritz is a perfect summer tonic. Low effort yet enjoyable. Stylish yet extremely casual. It’s an easygoing, crowd-pleasing cocktail that you can put your own spin on. Feel free to experiment and explore.
You can use equal parts of Prosecco and aperitif to get more of a bitter spirit character. Should you find yourself without a bottle of Prosecco or wish to tone down the fizzy nature, use whatever dry and unoaked white wine or rosé you have on hand.
Looking for more flavour? Use a grapefruit or blood orange soda, sparkling grape juice or citrus-infused sparkling water instead of club soda to make the flavours pop.
More bubbles? Add a bigger splash of Prosecco.
More complexity? Use a mix of bitter liqueurs, say Campari and Amaro Montenegro.
Something lighter, more refreshing? Increase the soda water component.
Perhaps the ever-changing moods of this laid-back cocktail help to explain its continuing global popularity. Its thirst-quenching character has made it a staple on bar and restaurant menus, but its versatility makes it a go-to for home entertaining, backyard parties or a quick cocktail to mix up before dinner.