Effervescent and made primarily with wine and low-alcohol spirits, spritzes are a summertime staple. These easy-drinking cocktails appeal to a wide swath of consumers and can incorporate a variety of fresh flavors and interesting ingredients. At Bloomsday Café in Philadelphia, spritzes have found a permanent spot on the menu; the coffee bar offers traditional recipes as well as brunch versions. “They’re not only bright and refreshing, they also tend to be low-alcohol, making them a nice universal social beverage or session cocktail,” says general manager Tim Kweeder.
During brunch, Bloomsday Café serves The Berle ($11), a specialty drink that’s updated seasonally. A recent iteration mixed Flor de Caña 4-year-old Extra Seco white rum, De Muller Iris Rojo vermouth, and housemade ginger-spiced simple syrup, topped with Serata Prosecco and club soda. The Berle has become Bloomsday Café’s top-selling spritz. “We generally have two or three spritz cocktails during warmer months, and we make them lighter and more refreshing,” Kweeder says. “We use lighter liqueurs, vermouths, and amari, along with seasonal fruit syrups and shrubs. In colder months, we use stronger spirits like aged rum, reposado Tequila, and more bitter amari and liqueurs. Spritzes have definitely secured their placement on the modern-day cocktail list.”
Spritzes see particular success at waterfront venues like pool bars and beach clubs, such as those of Hotel Joaquin in Laguna Beach, California. The property’s signature drink, which it offers as a welcome cocktail in the lobby, is the Auric Spritz ($17), made with Aperol aperitif, Dolin Blanc vermouth, Magdalena rum, simple syrup, muddled mint, and lemon juice, topped with Ruffino Prosecco. Some of the hotel’s other popular spritzes include the 985 ($17), comprising St-Germain liqueur, Nardini Mandorla grappa, simple syrup, muddled strawberry, and lemon juice, topped with Ruffino Prosecco, and The Master ($15), blending Cocchi Americano vermouth, Clément Canne Bleue rhum, Angostura Aromatic bitters, Small Hands passion fruit syrup, and lemon juice, also topped with Ruffino Prosecco.
“We have six spritzes on the menu and we typically curate them based on the season,” says Hotel Joaquin’s food and beverage director, Ruth White. “Nothing says ‘vacation’ like the quintessential spritz aperitif. They’re the perfect tipple for this private beach oasis.” White says that the hotel’s spritzes—which are usually ordered by women, but are also well-liked by men—make up the majority of cocktail orders. “We make sure to keep variations on our menu, and we keep our 985 and Auric Spritz available year-round, as they’re our signature cocktails and the most popular,” she adds.
In New York City, cocktail bar Nitecap—closed as of press time due to Covid-19—has a spritz section on its menu to complement other drinks categories like aperitifs, firewater, and nitecaps. “The spritz section does really well,” says Nitecap head bartender Ari Daskauskas. “We usually offer three or four spritzes that we change with our menus twice a year.”
Nitecap’s recent spritz offerings include the Comfy-Cozy ($16)—made with Gotham Project’s Bieler Family Daisy Pinot Grigio, Clear Creek Pear brandy, and Marolo Milla Grappa & Chamomile and Bénédictine liqueurs, topped with Banzai Bunny Sparkling Yuzu sake—and the Sun Lite, Moon Lite ($16), mixing Absentroux herbal wine, Kō Hana Agricole rum, Clément Mahina Coco liqueur, lime juice, and house-made pineapple gum syrup, topped with Latitude 50 N Sekt Trocken Rheingau rosé sparkling wine.
“We created the spritz section because these cocktails are easy-drinking, and we like to encourage our guests to lengthen their visit with drinks they can consume all night,” Daskauskas says. “We try to push the boundaries by creating drinks that carry spirits you may not be used to seeing in spritzes. We have a diverse spritz selection, and I’ve seen every type of guest order one. People are enthusiastic about spritzes.”