It doesn’t have to be Aperol – six other brilliant spritz recipes

Aperol spritz
The ideal drink for a Euro or Olympic watch party - Franz Lang

It’s round, it’s orange, it’s not a sunset or a version of the easyJet logo, but it does say ‘short-cut to summer’ in much the same way. Yes, it’s a giant goblet full of Aperol spritz,  the drink that has staged a remarkable takeover of warm-weather aperitivo hours and daytime ‘go on then, I’ll just have one’ moments over the past few years. Refreshing and casual, the spritz is a great aperitif for a weekend lunch, or early evening when you’ve got one eye on the tennis/Euro 2024/Olympics (delete as applicable). And it doesn’t have to be Aperol. Here are six other brilliant spritzes.

The Venetian spritz

I drank my first ever spritz many years ago, in a dark bar in Venice. It was blissfully unshowy and it’s still hard to beat. It consisted of a very basic tumbler into which the  bartender poured the Venetian bitter aperitivo Select (17.5%, Ocado, £18, or £15 until 9 July), prosecco and a top-up of soda. Use three parts Select, two parts sparkling wine and a splash of soda to taste. Serve with a small plate of green olives – I love the tins of Perelló Gordal Picante spicy pitted ones.

The Italicus spritz

Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto sounds like an Italian aristocrat. Actually it’s a sweet liqueur, made with rose, lemon balm, camomile and bergamot, the citrus that gives its flavour to Earl Grey tea. It’s gorgeously herbaceous, comes in a beautiful fluted green glass bottle that glitters like the Tyrrhenian Sea, and tastes good neat over ice as well as in a spritz. Its makers suggest one part Italicus (20%, Waitrose, £31.50; masterofmalt.com, £30.95; amazon.co.uk, £30) with two parts sparkling wine, served over ice. I added two parts soda to make a longer drink. Highly recommended.

The Italicus spritz
The Italicus spritz

Campari soda

The simplest of all, and the easiest to make at home as it doesn’t require an open bottle of wine. Pour 60ml of Campari (25%, Sainsbury’s, £18) over ice, top to taste with soda and serve with a twist of orange peel.

Campari soda
Campari soda

The Hugo spritz

Apparently the bartender who invented this drink originally called it the Otto spritz but decided he preferred the name Hugo. You need a bottle of St-Germain French elderflower liqueur (20%, Ocado, Waitrose, £21.50). Mix two parts St-Germain with three of prosecco and three of soda, pour into a glass over ice and add three torn mint leaves and a lemon paring.

St-Germain French elderflower liqueur
St-Germain French elderflower liqueur

White wine and elderflower spritz

This is one to make in a jug for lots of people. Mix 200ml of elderflower cordial with one bottle of sauvignon blanc and 750ml of sparkling water. Pour into glasses and add a cube or two of ice and a couple of half slices of lemon – give the lemon a good squeeze as it goes in.

The bicicletta

A lot of those Venetian bars were using still white wine rather than prosecco to make spritzes. I didn’t know it at the time, but there’s a name for this stylish and pleasingly bitter spritz: the bicicletta. To make it, pour 50ml of Campari, 50ml of dry white wine (something neutral such as pinot grigio or inexpensive soave) and 50ml of soda into a glass with ice. Add a slice of orange. A lot of one-time Aperol drinkers tell me they’ve switched to this. I couldn’t see much evidence of that when I did a quick search of Google Trends data. But I did find that high on the list of most frequent queries relating to Aperol in the UK was ‘off my tits on Aperol spritz’. Stay classy.

Try these..

Bella Cucina Asti 2023 Italy

7%, Tesco, £4.75

During Wimbledon, I’m going to be eating all the strawberries, with a glass of this sweet, grapey, effervescent white to wash them down.

Bella Cucina Asti 2023 Italy
Bella Cucina Asti 2023 Italy

Pentire Spritz

0%, Pentire Drinks, £27.80 for 70cl
Add tonic or soda to this non-alcoholic spritz base. Made with blood orange and sea rosemary, it’s one of the 
best around.

Pentire Spritz
Pentire Spritz

Chandon Garden Spritz

11.5%, Majestic, £22.99, or £19.99 in a mixed six; Waitrose, £19.99, or £14.99 until 2 July

I prefer homemade versions, but this ready-mixed spritz with notes of orange peel isn’t bad.

Chandon Garden Spritz
Chandon Garden Spritz

Advertisement