Think of spritzes and the Italian classics flash to mind. The most famous of them all is the orange-hued Aperol spritz, a slightly sweet aperitif with a bitter bite that originated in northern Italy. But along the Amalfi Coast, where lemons grow as large as grapefruits, the summertime sipper of choice is a limoncello spritz. It’s tart and bright, and comes together easily with a combination of limoncello, prosecco, and soda water served in oversized wine glasses on ice and garnished with juicy lemons.
These iconic Italian spritzes provide solid inspiration for wine-based cocktails you can make on your own for an at-home happy hour. Loosely defined, a spritz has three building blocks: Something bubbly, something bitter, and a splash of soda, which give bartenders ample creative freedom to concoct effervescent porch pounders and poolside sips.
Here are seven refreshing riffs on spritzes that bartenders love for warm-weather drinking.
1. Campante Spritz
This cocktail is inspired by both Mexico’s paloma and Italy’s classic spritz. “Mezcal and grapefruit are a match made in heaven, with Aperol adding a bittersweet kick,” says Tom Byrne, bar manager at GOLD, Notting Hill in London. The lemon leaf in this drink can be swapped out for other citrus leaves, which adds a fresh, herbal aroma to round out the cocktail, he says.
- 1 oz Mezcal Campante
- 1 oz Aperol
- 0.33 oz agave syrup
- 1 oz fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
- 3 oz club soda
- 1 lemon leaf
- Combine all ingredients except the club soda in a wine glass. Add ice to the top of the glass and stir quickly to combine.
- Top with soda and add the lemon leaf for garnish, pushing the leaf through the soda to mix, breaking the skin slightly to express the oils.