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Cocktails

This Is a Spritz

June 13, 2022

Story: Punch Staff

photo: Lizzie Munro

Cocktails

This Is a Spritz

June 13, 2022

Story: Punch Staff

photo: Lizzie Munro

Twenty-one true-to-their-name recipes that embrace the effortless structure of the Italian classic.

While we may have grown weary of the new crop of drinks that appear to be spritzes in name only, we don’t assert that every new take on the format is sacrilege. In our view, a spritz, by definition, adheres to a few core characteristics: low ABV, bitter and bubbly. From there, we welcome the new variations. Bring on the fruit-forward twist, experimental wine choices and herbaceous modifiers, so long as we can effortlessly enjoy them at our next aperitivo hour. 

Here, our favorite modern spins on the spritz, and easy ways to add intrigue to the classic

Use a Blend of Aperitivi

Take inspiration from the winner of our blind tasting of spritzes and use a blend of liqueurs. Joe Campanale’s Doppio Spritz combines the Italian Contratto and Brooklyn-born Forthave Red Aperitivo for a recognizably bittersweet drink that forgoes the wine element altogether. Instead, the cocktail introduces tonic water to perform double duty as bittering agent and bubbly topper.

The Bodega Spritz from Denver bartender Adrienne Thomas likewise uses a blend—in this case, sweet vermouth and the cherry-forward Cerasum Aperitivo—in a Spain-inspired take. The deeper stone fruit notes of the vermouth, coupled with acidic cherry and lemon, make for a nuanced drink.

spritz cocktail recipe
Recipe

Doppio Spritz

Two types of Italian aperitivo are the key to this winning recipe.

Recipe

Bodega Spritz

A Spanish vermouth-inspired spritz that plays with fruit flavors.

Introduce a Spirit

While the addition of full-proof spirits can tilt the format into not-quite-spritz territory, so long as the finished product is light and relatively low ABV, it’s fair game. The Clacson Spritz, with its one ounce pour of vodka, fits the bill, as an equal measure of Aperol keeps the drink in check. The addition of lemon juice and white wine syrup, as opposed to sparkling wine, meanwhile, make for easy drinking.

In his Basil Spritz, Erik Hakkinen adds only a half-ounce of gin and a half-ounce of pear liqueur to achieve the overall botanical quality of his basil-imbued spritz, which benefits from both sparkling water and sparkling wine.

Clacson Spritz
Recipe

Clacson Spritz

Bar Clacson's aperitif-inspired, low-proof signature drink.

Basil Spritz Cocktail Recipe
Recipe

Basil Spritz

Basil leaves give this spritz a fresh, herbal kick.

Consider Salinity

Spritzes don’t immediately call minerality to mind, but a touch of salinity can anchor the aromatic cocktails. In her crowd-pleasing Tan Line Spritz, Stacey Swenson pairs a mix of Cappelletti, dry vermouth and watermelon juice with a generous pinch of salt before topping with prosecco. It’s a move that lets the flavors pop, making it brighter and more refreshing. 

Chantal Tseng’s Americanah, an ode to the contemporary book of the same name, brings salinity to the spritz template to echo its literary inspiration. As the novel offers a new perspective on a familiar story, so does the drink: Tangy coconut water joins the more typical Campari and vermouth, while frizzante rosé, with its “earthy, almost beer-like quality” takes the place of prosecco. The ingredients “all give you that overall ‘blood, sweat and tears’ vibe,” says Tseng of her variation, “but in a nuanced riff of an old story.”

tan line spritz cocktail recipe
Recipe

Tan Line Spritz

An easy-going, light and bright Sbagliato rendition made with watermelon juice.

americanah cocktail
Recipe

The Americanah

Tangy coconut water and rosé Lambrusco frizzante lend this drink a touch of minerality.

More Spritzes
Recipe

Joe Campanale’s Negroni Sbagliato

A Sbagliato with endless layers of piquant, herbal and savory flavors.

Shore Leave Spritz
Recipe

Shore Leave Spritz

A lighter, spicy take on Navy Grog, swapping the rum base for gin and Cocchi Americano.

Recipe

Belvoir Boulevard

Ambrato vermouth offers a lighter touch in Pamela Wiznitzer's sbagliato lookalike.

Recipe

Zombie Spritz

The bitter, bubbly, low-ABV spritz template tangles with the Zombie's famously layered build.

Garibaldi Cocktail Recipe
Recipe

Garibaldi Spritz

The two-ingredient original gets a spritz makeover.

Appennini Spritz Cocktail Recipe
Recipe

Appennini Spritz

Barolo Chinato meets Cappelletti in this luscious take on a Sbagliato.

natasha david spritz cocktail recipe
Recipe

Canelli Spritz

An effortless "kitchen sink" approach to the spritz.

shower spritz
Recipe

Shower Spritz

An Aperol spritz, built directly into a can of pamplemousse LaCroix.

Rosa Sbagliato Cocktail Recipe
Recipe

Sbagliato Rosa

This pink-hued twist on the Negroni Sbagliato topped with rosé Champagne.

Bicicletta cocktail recipe
Recipe

Dante’s Bicicletta

Dante's version of this aperitivo classic gets a slightly reduced measure of Campari. 

Pimms Cocktail Recipe
Recipe

Pimm’s Spritz

A Pimm’s Cup livened up by a good dose of Champagne.

Recipe

Future Water

A Dubonnet-based spritz alternatively referred to as a "fruit bomb."

Recipe

Sanguinello Spritz

This wintry adaptation keeps things bitter, bubbly and low-alcohol.

Tinto de Verano
Recipe

Tinto de Verano

A surprisingly light and poppy Spanish spritz.

Blueberry Spritz
Recipe

Blueberry Spritz

A Maine-inspired spritz made with berries and alpine amaro.

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