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Everything You Need to Know About Summer's Favorite Drink: The Spritz

It's officially feeling like summer has arrived – we're hot, we're sweating, we're ready for a drink. When the heat has already begun to mess with your head (and makeup, and hair, and clothing), wine feels heavy and beer can be a lot to get through. Enter the spritz: icy, bubbly, tangy perfection. Exceedingly simple to throw together, the spritz isn't just for Italian getaways and trendy restaurants anymore. Today, we're breaking down how to achieve your own aperitivo Italiano right at home whether you're grilling in your backyard with friends or simply celebrating a summer Friday. 

Reporter: Heather Ash

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The Backstory

The beloved Italian tradition of late-afternoon apertivo is a time to unwind from the day with a beverage and snack before dinner. Found all throughout Italy, the type of light meal or snack will differ from region to region, but you can bet that cheese, cured meats and some carb variation will be present. The beverage is typically bitter to pair well with the salty snacks and is lower in alcohol than a traditional cocktail. The spritz is, of course, the drink of choice, often with Campari or Aperol (today's topics) and topped with Prosecco and soda water.
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Aperol vs. Campari

You can't go wrong with either Aperol or Campari but here's what you need to know: both are orange-based apéritifs from Italy. By design, Aperol has about half the alcohol content as Campari (Aperol: 11%, Campari: 25%), and is generally lighter and less bitter, making it the more widely used of the two in spritzes. If you're just getting started on spritzes, you may prefer Aperol for those reasons. Campari is more bitter, tangy and alcohol-heavy so you can use less in your homemade spritz if going with this option.   
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The "Recipe"

Get ready, making your at-home spritz is a doozy: the rule of thumb is two parts Campari/Aperol, three parts Prosecco, and one part soda water. If you need a more precise way of measuring, think of those parts as ounces: two ounces apéritif, three ounces Prosecco, one ounce soda water. Add a whole lotta ice and an orange slice for garnish and wah-lah, you're a spritz'n pro. 
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Spritzer, Beware

After the New York Times article titled, The Aperol Spritz Is Not a Good Drink unfairly skewered the cherished refreshment, the comments section was on fire: opinions were flying and the general consensus was that spritzes are, in fact, good BUT they can also be bad. How? They're so simple to make. It all comes down to the Prosecco: cheap Prosecco tastes extra cheap in the spritz, plain and simple. We're not saying it has to be top shelf or anything, just don't go with the cheapest option. 
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Mix It Up

So, you feel pretty confident with your spritz skillz and want to mix it up. Maybe you now prefer the stronger taste of Campari to Aperol or have found the perfect Prosecco for your spritzing pleasure. Below are some ideas we love to shake up your spritz: 

• Make it (more) rosy: swap Prosecco for dry sparkling rosé and plain soda water for lemon soda water, a la Bon Appétit. Recipe here →
• Make it floral: start with your traditional spritz and add one ounce (or part, you know what to do) of Elderflower liqueur like Drizly suggests. Recipe here →
• Make it juicy: ditch the soda water all together in favor of 1oz fresh orange juice and ½oz fresh grapefruit juice for even more tang as Mr. Porter does. Recipe here →

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