It’s time for summer drinking, and there are myriad options to choose from: margaritas, gin & tonics, rum punches, sangrias... But let’s talk about what I consider to be the quintessential - if oft maligned - summer cocktail, the Spritzer.
You might be thinking, “Spritzers - that’s what my grandma drinks”, or something even more derogatory. But really, Spritzers are a perfectly acceptable cocktail, and here’s why…
The Spritzer (from the German word spritzen, meaning to squirt or spray) is a simple wine cocktail, combining wine (usually white) and club soda or some other fizzy drink - for example, fizzy lemonade, like in the Süssgespritzter - served in a tall glass over ice. Spritzers are refreshing and light, with less alcohol than a typical cocktail, so they don’t weigh you down or bring you to your knees after a couple of hours in the hot sun.
I grew to love Spritzers many years ago when a friend offered me one at a small gathering at his home. It didn’t sound particularly appealing, but since it was the only beverage on the menu, I accepted it graciously. I was then surprised and delighted with not just the drink itself, but how well it seemed to go with the entire setting. A large yard, big deck, BBQ grill smoking away and wonderful conversation with a diverse group of friends on a hot summer’s afternoon. The wine and club soda flowed well into the night and through it all, a low, mellow, “this is how every day should feel” buzz was shared by all. I was hooked.
What makes the Spritzer so wonderful? 1) Wine. So, when making a Spritzer, only use a wine you would drink on its own! As with other cocktails, don’t compromise on quality just because you’re adding a mixer. 2) There’s also the “spritz”. Someone once said, “Life is better with bubbles”. (It may have been me.) Effervescent drinks are fun. Just saying the word “effervescence” is fun. (Or maybe that’s just me too.) Anyway, you have wine plus “fun” and maybe a squeeze of lemon or lime. Simple, easy, light and thirst quenching on a hot summer’s day. What could be better? And in case you’re still thinking that the Spritzer isn’t a “real” cocktail, think again... This isn’t a virgin drink, or a juice-bar special, it’s still an alcoholic beverage. Spritzers go down like water but still get you where you want to go.
So, this summer, while you’re trying to stay cool and sooth your dry throat, quench your thirst with a tall, cool, wine Spritzer. Here’s a traditional recipe – so easy, and so refreshing…
- 1 part white wine (a moderately priced unoaked Chardonnay will do)
- 1 part club soda or seltzer
Pour the wine into a tall glass (large stemmed wine glass or highball) filled with ice, and add a squeeze of lemon or lime.