The Aperol spritz was the flavour of choice last summer – but that’s not the only version of this tasty drink

There are many things we have Italy to thank for, but right now, the Aperol spritz may well be our top choice. This delicious European apéritif – consisting of sparkling wine, Aperol and soda water, usually served with a slice of orange – is generally cited as originating in northern Italy. However, the word ‘spritz’ on its own is a generic term linked to 19th-century Austrian aristocracy, who would add a splash (German: spritz) of water when drinking strong-tasting northern Italian wines. These days, the term has come to mean a wine-based cocktail, which stimulates the appetite thanks to the addition of bitter liqueur.

“A spritz is a wonderful summer drink, a wonderful aperitif that opens up the palate,” says Albert Daniels, customer service executive at Romeo’s Cellar St Ives. “Start with a spritz and it not only adds enjoyment to the meal that follows but enjoyment to the occasion.”

Make a perfect spritz

If you’d like to make your own, but don’t have Aperol handy – or want to experiment – there are lots of other recipes worth trying, he says. In fact, a good spritz follows a fairly basic recipe: three parts sparkling wine, one to two parts liqueur and a dash of soda water. A good spritz requires a liqueur that has a bitter edge – “particularly those that have that orange peel flavour,” Albert advises. For example, he says, “Campari and Montenegro both have that flavour. Or, try a sweet vermouth, like Martini.”

You’ll need a sparkling wine or champagne as your base – or better yet, prosecco. “If prosecco was more publicised, Australians would like it more,” Albert says. “It tastes very fresh, and slightly sweet – it’s a lovely, vibrant, fresh base.” (Plus, he adds, “it’s really affordable!”) Or, try a sparkling rosé. “Sparkling rosé is sunset in a bottle, and would pair very nicely with that tanginess.” Finally, add soda water and a citrus garnish – and enjoy.

Why serve a spritz?

A spritz is typically an apéritif but pairs well with a light summer salad, according to Tony Yang, owner of The Living Room café. “We do a great haloumi and pumpkin salad that works well, and we’re licensed so we serve spritzers when open for dinner, on Thursdays.” Book a table for lunch or dinner. Shop 16, Level 1, 9488 8232

How to make a classic aperol spritz
Makes 2

180ml prosecco
60–120ml Aperol (to your taste)
60ml soda water
4 orange slices, to garnish

1. Fill two old-fashioned glasses with ice.
2. Pour half the prosecco and half the Aperol into each. Add soda water to finish.
3. Serve each spritz with orange slices.

Top spritzer picks
Making a classic spritz is easy with these great ingredients from the liquor stores and supermarkets at The Village.