4 Inventive Spritz Cocktail Recipes That Don’t Use Aperol

There’s a good reason why the Aperol spritz is one of the most popular warm-weather cocktails: Its light, refreshing mix of Aperol, soda water, and prosecco is balanced, effervescent, and low abv, so you can drink a few and not feel too tipsy. And while we love Aperol, sometimes we’re craving something besides the orangey, bittersweet amaro.

A spritz can come in many forms. All you really need is a spirit, something bubbly, and perhaps fruit or herbs to get it right. While you may think of the spritz as a summertime libation, the drink can carry you from the hottest days into the cooler months as September turns into October and beyond. These four inventive takes on spritz cocktails will open your mind and palate to the bubbly possibilities of what this classic drink can be.

Rooftop Rosé Spritz

Rooftop Rose Spritz cocktail
Refinery Rooftop

As we get deeper into fall, rooftop hangs start to dwindle. But New York City’s Refinery Rooftop features a glass roof, so you can enjoy the view year-round. This spritz, created by Good Company Hospitality’s cocktail curator Will Benedetto, is perfect for enjoying these last few weeks before the weather gets crisp. “August to September is a funny time,” Benedetto says. “It’s often the hottest part of the year, but fall is right around the corner. The Rooftop Spritz is great for straddling the fall summer line.”

  • 1.5 oz The Botanist Gin
  • .75 oz grapefruit juice
  • .5 oz thyme simple syrup*
  • .25 oz lemon juice
  • 1 piece lemon peel
  • Wölffer Rosé Cider to top

Method: Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake vigorously. Strain and pour into a glass over ice and top with Wolffer Rosé Cider. Garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme.

*Thyme simple syrup: Combine 1 cup sugar, 5 large thyme sprigs, and .5 cup water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Allow to cool and strain.

Cancion del Verano

grapefruit sprtiz cocktail
The Picture Pantry/Ivan Danik/Getty Images

This citrusy spritz from one of our favorite Spanish restaurants, Boqueria, mixes mint and grapefruit with vermouth and bubbly for a light, balanced libation. Be sure to measure the cava carefully — too much will result in an unbalanced drink that isn’t juicy enough.

  • 3 oz YA Cava
  • 1.5 oz Atxa white vermouth
  • .75 oz grapefruit mint cooler mix*
  • 2 heavy dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • Grapefruit wedge to garnish

Method: Add all ingredients, save for the garnish, to a wine glass filled with ice. Stir briefly and garnish with a grapefruit wedge.

*Grapefruit mint cooler mix: Muddle 7 large mint leaves in .75 oz simple syrup. Add 3 oz fresh grapefruit juice and .75 oz fresh lemon juice and stir to combine.

Greenmarket Spritz

Greenmarket Spritz cocktail

“At Bocce, we are very lucky to have the largest farmers market in NYC on our front doorstep,” says General Manager Chris Johnson. “Over the years, chef and I have developed great relationships with the farmers that bring amazing produce to the city — this cocktail is a nod to them.” Bocce USQ worked with spritz master Stacey Swenson from Dante at Genuine to create this herb-packed libation, which is perfect for both hot summer days and cool fall evenings.

  • 1 oz herb-infused Espolon Blanco Tequila*
  • .5 oz Carpano Dry Vermouth
  • .5 oz St. Germain
  • .25 oz agave syrup
  • 1 oz fresh cucumber juice
  • .25 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 dash Bitter Truth Celery Bitters
  • 1 dash saline
  • Cucumber strips to garnish

Method: Add all ingredients, save for the garnish, to a wine glass filled with ice. Stir briefly and garnish with a grapefruit wedge.

*Herb-infused tequila: Combine a bottle of Espolon Blanco Tequila with 1 tbsp ground oregano, 2 rosemary sprigs, and 2 thyme sprigs. Let macerate for 24 hours at room temperature. Strain and discard the herbs. Store the herb-infused tequila in the fridge until ready to use.

Almond and Peach Spritz

Almond and Peach Spritz cocktail

Harold’s is one of our favorite places to grab brunch for scrumptious dishes like steak and eggs and biscuits and gravy. While the restaurant’s southern fare is typically hearty, their morning cocktails veer to the light. “Brunch cocktails are all about low ABV session drinking,” says beverage director Gary Wallach. “They should provide full flavor and offer an opportunity to enjoy a drink without having to worry about losing out on the rest of your Sunday. This particular flavor combination was created to highlight Maker’s Mark’s nutty notes with Dolin Dry’s fruity side.” We think whiskey is perfect for every season, so this Almond & Peach Spritz works just as well in summer as it does in the chillier months.

  • 1.5 oz Dolin dry vermouth
  • .5 oz Maker’s Mark
  • .75 oz peach purée
  • .5 oz orgeat
  • Prosecco and soda to top
  • Lemon twist and mint sprig to garnish

Method: Add the first four ingredients to a wine glass and add ice. Top with equal parts prosecco and soda. Use a bar spoon to agitate the ingredients. Garnish with lemon twist and mint sprig.

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