How to make a Lambrusco Spritz

Get your fizz on.


The first wine spritz I ever had tasted like trash.

I was interning as a police reporter in a city known at the time as one of those murder capitals, and my slightly more worldly—i.e. they were two years older than me—colleagues took me to this dark, divy bar that sat next to some underground parking garages. We had to go down a flight of stairs to reach it, and its broken neon sign woozily beckoned us in. My co-workers all ordered cheap, skunky beer, which even as a young intern I knew to avoid, so I ordered a wine spritzer. I figured it would be okay. It wasn’t.

I’ve since learned that a pour of cheap wine topped with club soda is not a proper spritz. To make a good spritz, you’ve got to first get rid of the bad wine, and then add a note of bitter. Bitter makes spritzes infinitely better.

Bitter adds a foil to the aromas of the wine, and together they tango to create a depth of richness that complements the pop of bubbles.

Italy has perfected the spritz, and while you can use any aperitivo, one of the best is Aperol. This bright orangey-red liqueur forms the base, which you then build with either an Italian bubbly, the new generation of dry Lambrusco or an Italian white wine, then add a touch of seltzer and garnish with a wedge of orange. 

Go as sweet or as dry as you like with the wine. That will set how sweet or dry your spritz will be. This easy drinking, before-dinner drink is so easy to make. There’s no shaking or stirring—just pour the ingredients, and head out to a patio to sip. Or, if you’re underground or on a mountain top or in a blizzard, allow your proper spritz to transport you to an Italian patio in your mind. This is just what I wanted those many years ago in that parking garage hotspot… but didn’t know that you can’t usually get a drink so crisp and so bitter and so good at some reporter’s skeevy dive bar.


· 90ml Italian bubbly, such as the new generation of dry Lambrusco

· 60ml Aperol

· 30ml seltzer water

· Glass: wine goblet or poco

· Garnish: orange wedge

Fill wine goblet or poco with ice, top with water, and let sit for two minutes to chill glass. Dump out ice water, refill with ice. Pour in wine, top with Aperol and seltzer, and garnish with orange. Enjoy. 

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