Exhausted from a seven-hour flight seated next to a crying toddler, I followed my family around the streets of Rome like a zombie. My mom snapped what I assume will be Christmas card photos in front of the Trevi Fountain. My sister dragged us to the Pantheon before zipping over to the Borghese Gallery. My dad refused to let me nap because I "needed to acclimate to the timezone."
Sensing my impending crash, my sister suggested a break from the walking, directing our family to a rooftop bar.
“You have to get this orange drink, Katie,” my sister said. “It’s so refreshing.”
But when the waiter came to take our order, we struggled pronouncing it.
“Ape-er-oll? Is that how you say it?” I asked.
“It’s app-er-all spritzzz,” the waiter said, putting heavy emphasis on the "z."
My sister was right, it was refreshing, bubbly, not too sweet, not too boozy. The sparkling wine cocktail was exactly what I needed after staying awake for almost 24 hours. It gave me that final push through dinner and on to bed (at the appropriate Italian time).
I’m hardly the first to recognize how wonderful the spritz can be, but I’m glad my family discovered it. Now, any time someone in my family gets cranky, we offer them a spritz. Heavy emphasis on the "z."
Below, I’ve gathered five spritzes that will lift anyone’s spirits, starting with the O.G.:
Served in large, stemmed wine glasses, the bright red cocktail is a summertime classic in Rome. It gets its sparkle from Prosecco, crispness from ice and orange, and bite from the Aperol.
By substituting Aperol with Cynar, another Italian bitter, the spritz gets a dark, sultry update. Don’t worry, it’s just as refreshing as the original.
A simple, subtler cousin of the classic Negroni. This version replaces gin with Prosecco for a lighter, sparkling pre-dinner drink. Close your eyes, take a sip, and transport yourself to the Italian Riviera.
Here, bitter, bright-green Suze gets some spritz-ing. “I love its electric green color and how it kind of punches you in the mouth with flavor,” says recipe author Samantha Weiss Hills. “This is not a bashful aperitif, but its herbal, citrus, and bitter qualities can be harnessed and complemented, made graceful.”
Campari and vermouth combine to create a sum greater than its parts, says cocktail expert Erik Lombardo. “The Campari adds depth and complexity to the vermouth," he says, "which in turn brings a touch of sweetness that accentuates the citrus and spice in the Campari. Finishing the cocktail with soda water completes the picture, giving us a lightly alcoholic, tall, fizzy, and refreshing drink that can be enjoyed in modest quantity without worrying about becoming too intoxicated to remember to boil water for the pasta.”
What's your favorite spritz? Share in the comments below!