The Wine Spritzer
A friend recently asked us to tend bar for a party he was throwing. It was on a rooftop with stunning views, at sunset. The crowd was a fun one. It sounded like a nice way to spend an evening. The only thing that gave us pause was the bar menu they had in mind: wine spritzers.
We try to be open-minded in our approach to cocktails. We know that not everyone has the same tastes in drinking, and we don’t think they should. Heck, we know that depending on the occasion and on our mood our own tastes can vary quite a bit. Sometimes, we want the most fabulously sophisticated cocktail we can find; sometimes anything with rum and coconut does the trick. Sometimes, we’re only satisfied if our drink prep involves hunting for a hard to find ingredient and multiples stages of muddling; other times we like a drink we can make pouring with both hands with our eyes closed. Our aim is happy drinking, for ourselves and for others, with the broadest possible spectrum of styles and settings. We tend not to judge what makes someone (especially including ourselves) happy.
Sometimes our tolerance reaches a test of its limits. Wine Spritzers present one of those tests. Adding water to wine isn’t exactly a skill a bartender can be proud of. And, besides, wine spritzers remind us of the 80s, the heyday of wine coolers, and–perhaps not entirely coincidentally–a low point for American drinking. The 80s were the sad, dark days just before the beautiful dawn brought about by craft brewing, plentiful quality wine, and a cocktail revival. The commercials were pretty good, though.
All to say, we were a bit skeptical of the wine spritzer bar.
That may be because we’ve never before faced an unbroken assault of scorching heat and smothering humidity like we have in DC this summer. In the light of a relentlessly glaring sun, we start to see the benefits of the spritzer:
- It’s cold. At times like this, chilling is not enough. The second you open the fridge door, everything in it goes lukewarm. We need ice. In normal times, I wouldn’t think of putting ice in my wine, but these aren’t normal times. I’m considering drinking my beer on the rocks;
- It’s light. This is not the time for high proof drinks. I got dehydrated walking a letter to the mailbox yesterday. The only way to keep from fainting is to take a low alcohol drink and dilute it by half;
- It takes almost no effort to make. Lethargy is a survival skill in this weather. A wine spritzer doesn’t require any vigorous shaking; in fact, you don’t even need to stir it. That’s just the amount of effort I want to exert right now.
So, as long as the thermometer remains in the red zone, consider us spritzer fans.
Wine Spritzer Cocktail Recipe
The big question–only question maybe–with a wine spritzer is the ratio of wine to seltzer. A brief look around the internet shows ratios anywhere from 3 wine:1 seltzer to 3:2. We ended up settling at 2:1. To us, that’s where it tasted light, but not watered down. Let us know what you think.
- 4 oz cheap table wine (you can do any color, but we like white or rose better, saving our red for tinto de veranos)
- 2 oz seltzer
- dash of bitters (optional, if you want to spice it up a bit)
- Combine wine and soda (and bitters if using) in an ice-filled highball. Like we said, this drink is for when you’re feeling lazy.