Ten years ago, the United Kingdom was largely unaware of the Spritz and its bittersweet charms. The Negroni was gaining popularity in our bars, a European import that dovetailed nicely with a general levelling-up of our national cocktail programme. But most of the Aperol in these parts was gathering dust in last generation’s Italian restaurants. This all changed when some canny marketing spend by Aperol’s owner, the drinks titan Gruppo Campari, put bright orange deckchairs and branded glassware in cities up-and-down the country. In just a few years, we became a nation of Spritz drinkers – captivated by the light, appetite stimulating, low-ABV afternooner to such an extent that it’s come to overshadow homegrown favourites like Pimm’s.
What do I need to make one?
The basic formula for a spritz is easy:
50ml Bitter liqueur
25ml Soda water
Pour your bitter into a glass filled with ice, a large wine glass is commonly used but a generously sized tumbler will work just as well. Don’t be tempted to skimp on the ice as your drink will just wind up flat and lukewarm – the very opposite of a Spritz. Gently pour your prosecco to make sure you don’t break the bubbles and give it a gentle stir with a barspoon – or a teaspoon if that’s what’s to hand. Any prosecco will do, but as wines go they do skew fairly sweet, so one described as ‘extra dry’ or ‘brut’ will usually work best.
Next, top with soda water. The kind that comes in small cans or bottles is preferable as you can guarantee it’ll be nice and lively when you come to pour. The proportions of prosecco and soda can be judged by eye. Measuring out fizzy ingredients is way too fussy to bother with and will just knock the sparkle out of them anyway.