The spritz is a lesson in simplicity, generally combining a bittersweet liqueur like amaro, sparkling wine, and a splash of bubbly water to create a delicious and easy-going drink. The classic format is said to date to the 1800s, when Austrian soldiers in the Veneto region of modern-day Italy would dilute wine with a “spritz” (meaning “splash” in German) of soda water.
Today, in Italy and beyond, the spritz is a beloved pre-meal aperitif or aperitivo cocktail, thanks to its gentle bitterness and low-key alcohol content. The options for switching up your spritz are endlessly versatile, and these 12 recipes are a great jumping-off point.
The Aperol Spritz achieved stateside stardom in the 2010s, but Italians have been drinking the gently bittersweet drink as a pre-meal aperitivo since the 1950s. You can certainly experiment by swapping the Aperol for different types of amaro. Just remember the 3-2-1 formula: three parts prosecco, two parts amaro, and one part club soda.
Golden Gate Spritz
Lo-Fi gentian amaro, a gently bitter and floral liqueur made with a base of fortified white wine, is the star of this spritz from bartender Claire Sprouse. Top the amaro and grapefruit juice with sparkling wine of your choice.
This fruity and floral drink from New York City bartender Jamie Steinberg is delicious any time of year. She combines strawberries, elderflower syrup, lemon juice, rhubarb bitters, and sparkling rosé wine.
Spritzes can also be savory. From Katana Kitten managing partner and “director of deliciousness” Masahiro Urushido, this cocktail calls for just a quarter-ounce of gin, which he combines with extra-dry vermouth, homemade tomato water and cherry tomato shrub, club soda, and prosecco.Continue to 5 of 12 below.
For this lovely Aperol Spritz twist, bartender Brandon Lockman rinses the glass in absinthe and combines strawberry-infused Aperol, Lillet blanc aperitif, rhubarb bitters, and sparkling wine. Keep the infused Aperol on hand for other drinks, too.
Hailing from Northern Italy, this floral and lightly herbaceous sparkler typically uses an elderflower cordial called acqua santa (holy water). A more readily available substitute is St-Germain liqueur, which is combined with muddled mint, prosecco, and soda water.
This classic Italian drink is easy to make, and drink. It’s similar to an Aperol Spritz, but employs Aperol’s more bitter cousin, Campari, and a mixture of dry white wine and club soda in lieu of prosecco.
First served at Gaspare Campari’s bar in Milan, Italy, in the 1860s, this precursor to the Negroni is a more quaffable version of the classic. Simply top equal parts Campari and sweet vermouth with soda water.Continue to 9 of 12 below.
Night at the Spritz
Many spritzes are low in alcohol by nature, but this recipe from New York City bartender Allison St. Pierre omits the booze entirely. She replaces the typical bitter liqueur with Ghia, a spirit-free aperitif flavored with yuzu, orange, and ginger. Stir with club soda and garnish with a rosemary sprig and orange peel for an easy non-alcoholic option.
If you like a White Negroni, try this more sessionable spritz. Bartender Tristan Willey mixes Suze, a gentian-based herbal aperitif, with a white Italian vermouth and tops the mixture with club soda.
Often called the St-Germain Spritz, this simple cocktail from spirits writer Simon Difford combines the namesake floral liqueur with dry white wine and club soda. You can also add sparkling wine for extra effervescence.
Created by Seattle bar pro Jen Rae, this spritz combines Negroni Aperitivo Sixteen with blood orange and pomegranate liqueurs, grapefruit soda, and prosecco. It requires a few more ingredients than your typical spritz, but the bright and citrusy flavors are well worth the extra effort.