Yes, the Italians get credit for the spritz, é vero — although, technically, it was Austro-Hungarian soldiers stationed in northern Italy during the mid-1800s and their search for a beer substitute that spawned the drink’s origins, combining white wine and sparkling water. With that spirit in mind, it’s a cocktail born of adaptation. Of course the rest of the world wants in.
The Aperol Spritz has been the Drink of the Summer for… wowzer, the last oh-so many years. So much so, that one New York Times writer felt compelled to rail against the drink (to the angry outcry of a tidal wave of spritz devotees). To this day, you can’t throw an orange wedge without hitting one being sipped al fresco, in the Hamptons and everywhere else there’s an outdoor table and a little sunshine.
This summer? The latest riff has been the Hugo Spritz, apparently created by an Italian bartender several years back. Our Spidey sipping sense, however, suspects it was the folks over at St. Germain elderflower liqueur looking for a sexier, supposedly Italian-skewed answer to their St. Germain spritz, which just didn’t take off in the same way as the Aperol version (although, really, the only thing Italian about the Hugo is the prosecco — other than that, it’s kind of a Mojito mash-up).
Enter Bridgehampton’s Pierre’s, the East End’s bastion French culture and cuisine. Technically, a spritz is a combo of sparkling wine (prosecco, traditionally), a bitter liqueur, such as Aperol, soda water and a wedge of citrus. That’s it. Pierre’s Provence Spritz is a few ingredients more complicated than your typical version, but it’s kind of everything you want from a French version — St. Germain and, for that Provençal vibe, rosé, among the liquids here.
Pierre’s tops theirs with tonic. For us, we like things a little on the dryer side, so we subbed in soda water to pull the drink back toward its original format and to keep it more on the refreshing side, but feel free to go with whichever bubbly aspect tickles your fancy. It’s a spritz, after all. Viva la différence.
Provençe Spritz a la Pierre’s
- 2 oz Harmony gin
- 1/2 oz St. Germain elderflower liqueur
- 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
- 2 oz Provençal rosé wine
- 1 oz club soda
- 1 orange wheel