Wine Spritzer? Yes Please!
Summer – the season of sunshine, swimming and spritzers! I know, I know - it almost feels sacrilegious to interfere with the makeup of a bottle of wine. The producers spend so much time caring for every element - the soil, the grapes, the harvesting process, the barrel selection, and the aging process. They are very intentional with their product, and I know and respect that. Soooo, it’s really against my better judgement to pour some club soda on top of wine, but honestly, a nice wine spritzer just makes me HAPPY. It feels a bit more special and summery and I like that.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love a glass of wine. Sometimes I love many glasses of wine. But some days, I just want something a little different, that feels little more special, so I started splashing some club soda in my vino and – voila! I felt a little extra sparkle. It’s fun to experiment with different wines and discover which ones make for tasty spritzers.
I asked my dear friend and wine connoisseur Robin Riddell Jones, owner of Tavola, how she felt about a spritzer and she immediately recalled countless childhood memories of growing up in Mississippi whe her aunts would gather for “Spritzers!” because indulging in one is not really having a drink – especially before noon, which is simply not proper. I asked Robin to help me find more ways I CAN drink properly - both before and after noon - and what wines she recommends I try to create my beloved spritzer.
Being the wealth of knowledge she is, she also shared several tips to making a spectacular spritzer, and they are just too good not to share:
1. Longevity and/or Quantity
When making a spritzer, the ratio is of the utmost importance. It should be one part club soda to two parts wine. Some people make them half and half and it dilutes the flavor of the wine too much. By cutting the alcohol, you can drink for longer and/or drink less alcohol overall – depending on what your goals are. Spritzers are a great option for day drinking. Robin says a nice cold white wine spritzer is her number one choice if she’s going out on a boat all day.
“I’m not a beer drinker, and I’m not going to drink cocktails if I know I’m going to be in the sun and drinking for 6 hours,” she told me. “So a spritzer is my go-to. I pour some white wine over ice, add some club soda, squeeze some citrus in there and I’m golden.”
“The key to a great spritzer is that both elements [the wine and the club soda] must be super cold. Like when you pour it in the glass, it should almost frost up.” That led me to ask her about using ice, and she recommended only doing so if you are outside on a boat or the beach, or if it is just blazing hot. Otherwise a nicely chilled bottle of wine and some cold club soda should do the trick.
So here’s the thing – like I mentioned earlier, you are pouring club soda into a perfectly good glass of wine. Soooo you know, you don’t have to use your limited edition vintage bottle you’ve been saving since your college graduation. You can use less expensive wines - BUT make sure you use a wine you actually like. Turning it into a spritzer doesn’t mean you’re going to enjoy the drink if you don’t even like the wine to begin with.
Okay, so now that we’ve got the rules in place...let’s make some spritzers, shall we!?
Robin gave me some wine suggestions that lend themselves to tasty spritzers, so I scurried over to Woodland Wine Merchants to pick them up and get them in the fridge asap so I could enjoy some frosty cold spritzers as soon as I got the kiddos in bed. In my very professional experience, I would say Robin gave some excellent recommendations!
1. Les Hexagonales Sauvignon Blanc $14
This medium-body, dry sauvignon blanc goes down easily. I squeeze some grapefruit juice into it and in fact I love the grapefruit addition so much that I just put the whole darn wedge in there and let it float around while I imbibe.
2. Brand Riesling $17
This tart Riesling with some club soda feels like peach skin on my tongue and I love how refreshing it is. You can add a squeeze of citrus to this but I honestly prefer it without.
3. Azul Garanza Tempranillo $15
Because...red wines can have fun in the summer too! To make this spritzer more fun you can squeeze some juice from an orange in there (think sangria) or if you don’t have an orange handy maybe add a dash of orange bitters. It’s not quite the same fresh flavor but it does add some nice citrus notes.
4. Boxed wine – La Nevera rosé /white wine $23
These boxed wines are a great value. Equivalent to four bottles, they are a nice option for a day on the boat or the beach, or even for a summertime shindig at your home. NOTHING is more fun than a rosé wine spritzer. The white wine is an easy-to-drink table wine that I like to add a squeeze of lemon to for a little added flavor.
The next time you’re out and about, pick up one or two of these suggestions and try some different wine spritzer options - and feel free to invite me over when you do! I have a feeling it just might become your drink of choice this summer.