Is there a better use for sparkling wine than a spritz? There is not many cocktails that spark as much joy as a beautiful, cold and refreshing spritz, best enjoyed in the sun. The weather is getting good so we're getting geared up to enjoy a few over the coming months, but there is more than one way to spritz besides The Obvious One, and so many variables that make a good refreshing fizzy beverage! So we've put together an essentials list with some tricks and tips to make the best spritz possible: The Ultimate Spritz Guide. We'll cover the basics, the essentials and what essentials to have in the quiver and how to take it your spritz to the next level! So let's get into it.
The Essentials and How to Choose Them
There's 3 simple ingredients in your basic spritz: Soda, Bitters and Sparkling Wine. While choosing soda is easy - literally whatever neutral soda you want a.k.a the cheapest - having your essential bubbles and bitters is key. For sparkling wine, more often than not a great choice is prosecco, but any good dry sparkling is what you need. We've got a list of a few of our favourites!
Here's something we all know: This is the absolute go to. The BBQ Sparkling staple. Why? Because the value for money (or V.F.M) is off the bloody charts. It's available pretty much everywhere in Australia, it's never more than $20 and it's actually great prosecco. A No Brainer. The Undefeated Champ. The King of King Valley. We really could stop here... But we wont.
We love the AB&D crew (head winemaker Sam Berketa went to Uni with Brendan & Laura - aww!) and we love their wines too - and this is a fav in the line-up for sure. This is objectively well made prosecco. Spritley acidity, chock full of nashi pears and a bloody delight to drink. Seriously delicious.
We couldn't mention prosecco without mentioning a special style of prosecco that we love - Col Fondo. This is the funky cousin - still all Glera grapes - but this is essentially made like a pet-nat rather than you're average Charmat method. It's a bit funky, slightly sour and comes out cloudy. Don't let this put you off, this is friggin' YUM. It's a different style but it's well worth a play, with some very tasty results. Das Juice make an epic one out of the King Valley. While Brown Brothers are the Kings of the King Valley, these guys are the unlikely underdogs.
It's worth mentioning our OTHER wine brand Harvest where we make a super simple 100% Chardonnay Blanc de Blanc. It's a straight forward sparkling wine that's as built for spritzes as it can really be - it's made in the Charmat method so it has that prosecco spritz to it, with some racy green apple tang and tartness. Great stuff.
Prosecco has a delightul spanish cousin - Cava. It's made in the traditional "champagne" method, but has that clean flavour more like prosecco, a bit of a middle ground between the two. Freixenet are not only the largest exporter of Cava in the world, they're the worlds largest producer of traditional sparking wine. It's a squeaky clean rendition of the style, and it's at a bargain price. Really good alternative to the norm if you're feeling some salsa vibes.
Don't Get Bitter Get Better
You know why you need this. You know the recipe. Don't question it. Grab some oranges while you're at it. NEXT.
You've probably got a bottle of this sitting at the back of the cabinet that time you wanted to make some Negronis - little did you know it's great in a spritz. Those that like it a touch more bitter but still citrus forward and neatly balanced. In a spritz with a few green olives, phoar. Now we're talking.
We can't help ourselves. Our sister distillery Applewood crafts the incredible Økar Amaro - an amazing Australian style bitters made with incredible native ingredients. This is the ultimate beach side sipper, this is literally the taste of Australia. Great in cocktails, great in a spritz.
Everyone's favourite artichoke liqueur! While at first glance, artichokes don't seem like a great ingredient for a spirit, but Cynar is so so good. One of our favourites. It's got a little more funk than your average, but it's crazy versatile. Works well in a classic spritz but can get even more delicious if you feel like jazzing it up with grapefruit, cola or even ginger. Really good fun.
Beyond Bitter and Bubbly.
Okay, the basics are covered. You've got the fizz, and you've got the bitters, but we're not done yet. Now it's time to take your spritz to the next level. The joy of the spritz is in its versatility. There's a few great weapons at your disposal to turn your spritz all colours of the rainbow.
Vermouth, Aromatised and Fortified Wines
The wine doesn't have to be fizzy - the wide world of wine is waiting for you to spritz it up. Vermouths, Aromatised and Fortified wines seem like they were made for a spritz! They're high in alcohol a lot of the time so balancing that intensity can make it even better. Fino sherry's nutty, savoury quality can be made better with a little bit of sweetness. Sweet vermouth is a lot of the time better with soda - the Americano proved that! So pick up some Lillet Blanc or basically anything Regal Rogue does and start experimenting.
Yep. Shock Horror. Regular ol' flat wine is killer in a spritz. Now that doesn't just mean grab a bottle of Dad's cab sauv and put a splash of soda in it and bobs your uncle (unless that works for you - enjoy?), there some guidelines. Nothing too oaky. Nothing too tannic. Generally lower alcohol. Chablis or any chardonnay without too much oak works great, Fiano is great, Rosé is fantastic. If you're gonna go Red, make sure it's light and chillable. In a nutshell: fruit forward and high acid.
Now this makes heaps of sense. Making something that more often than not too sweet a little bit more approachable by stretching it out. There are a few classics already. Limoncello is perfect, that citrus zing with some fizz makes for some fun adult lemonade. St Germain is delightful and aromatic elderflower liquer that seems built for a sprits (St. Germain themselves recommend a spritz as their cocktail of choice!). Pimm's is an all time classic. Anything with a bit of sweetness is perfect for a bit of frizzante!
Hopefully now you've comfortable to go beyond then Aperol Spritz and start getting a little bit more creative - trust us it's worth it. Need proof? We've got five of our favourite "alternative spritz" recipes below for you to give a crack!
We couldn't go without recommending our own signature spritz - the Mando Spritz. With our brand new Unico Mando mandarin liqueur and a little bit of orange/amber wine (Esoterico is the in house favourite of course), but get experimental! There are plenty of great orange wines around to have a crack at! (We've already got some favourites of our own).
45ml Unico Mando
90ml Orange/Amber wine.
Pour over ice in a wine glass. Garnish with orange peel.
This is a tribute to Australia's Greatest ever spritz bar This Must Be The Place, one of this countries most influential bars which announced it's closure recently - we'll miss you guys! We love you! They were the masterminds behind this epic beverage - the Rosella Spritz - made with the wonderful Økar Amaro. Something a little more bittersweet, spruced up with a bit of raspberry liqueur - Cherry Coke vibes!
60ml Australian Okar Amaro
10ml Giffard Framboise (Raspberry Liqueur)
100ml Sparkling Wine
Pour over ice in a wine glass and top with soda. Garnish with rose petals or other edible flowers.
For those that love the ethereal spiciness of ginger as refreshment, we've got this elixir for you to imbibe - also a great way to showcase that the dilution of a spritz doesn't just have to be soda, in this case your ol' mate ginger beer! This one would be killer with some Col Fundo Prosseco!
60ml Lillet Blanc vermouth
90ml Sparkling Wine
30ml Ginger Beer
Pour over ice in a tumbler. Garnish with a slice of fresh ginger.
Hi Life Spritz
This one shows the power of white wine in spritz form. Clean, crisp and dry is essential here. Gin, White Wine, Elderflower - it's screaming sunshine already! It almost looks as crystal clear as water and it almost goes down like it. Über smashable.
45ml Dry White Wine
45ml Elderflower Liqueur (St. Germain)
Pour over ice in a tall glass and top with soda. Garnish with edible flowers or lemon myrtle.
Relatively straight forward but we love our Cynar and we love something a little bit more herbaceous. This fits the brief perfectly. Nice and bitter and robust, but still as refreshing as necessary.
15ml White Vermouth
90ml Sparkling Wine
15ml Grapefruit Juice
15ml Simple Sugar Syrup 1:1
Pour over ice in a wine glass and top with soda. Garnish with grapefruit peel.