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It seems that every summer, for at least the last five or six years, someone declares it to be the Summer of the Spritz. But here’s the thing: It’s always the Summer of the Spritz, at least since northern Italians started combining wine with sparkling water sometime in the 19th century and certainly once Aperol was invented in 1919.
The drink’s popularity outside of Italy certainly has been hard to ignore here in the States as of late. So much so that not only are traditional versions and riffs ubiquitous on cocktail menus at bars and restaurants, canned versions are the latest incarnation of this refreshing aperitivo. And they’re good.
These are nine of the nicest to pop and pour. Some are from winemakers and somms, some from craft distillers, and of course there’s an entry from one of Italy’s best bitter and aromatized wine producers.
Ventura Spirits, based in Los Angeles, has become beloved for its gorgeous strawberry and prickly pear brandies and an easygoing but complex Angeleno amaro. That amaro forms the base of the company’s newly released spritz. The resulting aperitivo in 200-mL cans has a golden-orange hue and a powerful but well-integrated complex bitterness that’s tempered by the lovely, quenching orange and grapefruit flavors and notes of fresh chamomile. It’s SoCal fun but sophisticated, too. Pour it for persnickety spirits friends or your favorite bartender buddy.
Bully Boy Grapefruit Spritz
Inside the fun sunset-orange 12-ounce cans are the summer flavors of sweet oranges, beautifully bitter grapefruit zest, juicy yellow cherries and a balancing bite that comes from the Boston distiller’s own amaro, which uses mix of cascade, citra and galaxy hops in the bittering blend of this 7% ABV riff on the spritz.
CANette Rose Watermelon Yuzu Spritzer
The women-led winemaker duo of Chronicle Wines in Peconic, New York, relaunched and renamed their line of canned spritzers in June 2021 and added this easy-to-drink limited-edition summer-only flavor in 375-mL cans. The rosé at the spritz’s base is a blend of locally sourced Long Island merlot and cabernet franc, and its fresh tart-cherry notes add to the zippy juiciness of the watermelon and tartness of the pretty citrus.
Ghia Le Spritz
There’s no alcohol in this entry, so it’s not technically a spritz, but there’s so much going on in these 8-ounce cans that we dare say you won’t miss the booze. This ruby-hued spritz presents itself with cheerful, frothy fizziness, along with the smell of blood oranges, grapefruit zest, dried flowers and a tangle of fresh, bitter herbs. Its ingredients are intriguing and clever—unfermented riesling juice, yuzu, lemon balm, elderflower, orange, fig, rosemary, acacia and ginger. It’s juicy and fruity but with a wonderful lip-smacking bitter note that balances rather than overwhelms.
Luxardo Bianco Spritz
Luxardo, which has been making beautiful bitter things since 1821, celebrated its 200th anniversary in June 2021 by releasing three 10% ABV canned cocktail riffs in 250-mL cans: a gorgeous sour cherry Gin & Tonic and a duo of spritz versions. The Aperitivo Spritz is for the traditional spritz lover. And if you’re a fan of the company’s Bitter Bianco, the Bianco Spritz is a bubbly, floral version, with giddy notes of grapefruit, sweet aromatic moscato, lemon and grapefruit citrus zest, and a wonderfully bitter dry finish.
Miami Cocktail Co. Bellini Spritz
Orange like the sunset, this organic 4.2% ABV tropical riff on the spritz in 250-mL cans smells of ripe mango and more subtly of peach, and it tastes clear and juicy, too. The organic rosé that forms the base adds a bit of fruit flavor as well. Despite the fruity sweetness, it finishes dry and with loads of fruity flavor.
Plume & Petal Cucumber Spritz
Launched in April 2021, this quenching 4.5% ABV spritz in 12-ounce cans features a vibrant hit of fresh cucumber. Arguably, this is not a traditional spritz: It has vodka as its base alcohol rather than wine and no real bittering agent to speak of. But flavorwise, it offers lemongrass, chamomile and a bit of honey sweetness that makes for a light and elegant sip beside a sunny pool.
Ramona Blood Orange Wine Spritz
This spritz from sommelier Jordan Salcito tastes so fresh it seems like it was just-mixed. Made from the fragrant Sicily-sourced white grape zibibbo (also known as muscat of Alexandria), the 7% ABV spritz in 275-mL cans has just the right amount of sparkle and the rich, vibrant fuchsia hue of just-mashed raspberries. It smells citrusy and earthy, with a juicy flavor that’s tamed by a gentle, balancing bitterness.
She Can Island Citrus Dry Rose Spritzer
Each 12-ounce, 8% ABV can has the winemakers’ pale rosé as its base. As soon as you pop the top, the aromas of tropical guava and candied peach hint at the spritz’s flavors, along with notes of sour cherry and a cracker-dry finish. A portion of profits go toward supporting BIPOC women with scholarships and small-business loans.