Wine Spritzers Are the Healthy-ish Sparkling Cocktail Perfect for Peak Summer
And you only need two ingredients to make them.
There’s nothing more refreshing on a hot summer day than an ice-cold bubbly beverage. If it’s boozy, even better. Typically made from a basic blend of wine and soda water and zhuzhed up with fresh juices and liqueurs, the spritzer is a go-to cocktail for warmer months because it's delicious, hydrating, and extraordinarily easy to make. There are also thousands of ways to customize your creations based on the wine, liqueurs, mixers, and garnishes you have on hand.
“While they may get a bad rap as a cocktail of a bygone era, I actually have a soft spot in my heart for white wine spritzers,” says Christopher Hoel, the founder of Harper’s Club and wine curator for Wine Insiders and Martha Stewart Wine Co. “They’re fun, light, easy to tailor to your taste, and you can pre-make them in big batches before pre-portioning them out for friends and family while social distancing outdoors.”
Here are Hoel’s top tips for making wine spritzers this summer, plus three delicious recipes you'll want to sip ASAP.
A white wine spritzer is effectively just white wine mixed with club soda. Point being? You should make sure that you absolutely love the base wine. Any white wine will do—whether you prefer a super dry Sauvignon Blanc, an oaky Chardonnay, or a sweet Moscato. “Personally, I like a crisp, fruit-forward wine like a Pinot Grigio to build a solid, flavorful foundation for my spritzers,” Hoel says.
When it comes to adorning the spritzer with a garnish, Hoel recommends taking a farm-to-table approach. “Meaning, I scope out the fruit selection at my local grocery store or farmers' market, assess what’s the most in-season, and then incorporate those fruits into my concoctions.” Practically any fruit will liven up a spritzer, but the better the fruit the more flavorful the end result. Citrus, like lemons or oranges or even grapefruits, are gold standards for spritzers and you cannot go wrong there. “However, I’ve also enjoyed adding fresh berries, cherries, pineapple, and melon as a fun twist.”
You can drink a spritzer that is just wine, soda, and a garnish—and it will be delicious. But if you’re feeling adventurous, then you can add a splash of these to take your spritz up a notch:
- Citrus juice: Squeeze a lemon or a lime for a zesty, bold finish.
- Sweeteners: Add simple syrup, honey, agave, or maple syrup to sweeten up a drier wine (like Sauvignon Blanc). If you’re using a sweet wine like Moscato, then you won’t need the extra sweetness.
- Liqueurs: A splash of elderflower liqueur (like St. Germain), a dash of Angostura bitters, or a splash of Campari will add new dimensions to your cocktail.
- Liquor: If you want your spritzer to pack more punch, then add a splash of a clear liquor like good quality gin, vodka, or white rum.
To keep the cocktail as crisp as possible, the wine and soda should be chilled to the bone. Refrigerate at least overnight, and consider moving to the freezer for an extra cool blast a few minutes before preparation. If you have the space, try chilling your glassware ahead of serving.
- 6 ounces Pinot Grigio
- 1/2 ounce elderflower liqueur
- 2 ounces club soda
- Fresh citrus, such as lemons or oranges
- Fill a cocktail glass with large ice cubes, then add Pinot Grigio, elderflower liqueur, and club soda. Stir.
- Cut the rind of the citrus and wipe the rim of the glasses with it, then garnish with the citrus rind.
- 4 ounces Moscato
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- 2 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (depending on desired level of sweetness)
- Slice of lemon or lemon peel for garnish
- Club soda
- Pour Moscato into glass, then add agave nectar and lemon juice; stir.
- Add a splash of club soda and garnish with lemon slice or peel.
- 3 ounces Rosé wine
- 2 ounces sparkling water
- ½ ounce fresh lemon juice
- ½ ounce simple syrup
- ½ ounce Campari or Aperol
- Wedges of grapefruit, lemons and strawberries
- Fill a large pint-sized glass with ice, then pour in all of the ingredients except the sparkling water.
- Stir well and add fruit, then top with sparkling water.