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A twist on the classic Aperol Spritz using Lambrusco wine (instead of Prosecco), Aperol, and sparkling water.
Meet my new favorite cocktail – the Lambrusco Spritz. It’s like an Aperol Spritz but the prosecco gets replaced with Lambrusco wine. Where as the Aperol Spritz feels decidedly summer, the Lambrusco Spritz works all year long. Food and Wine magazine called Lambrusco the perfect wine for Thanksgiving and talks about why it should be everyone’s favorite new wine for fall.
I would have to agree that Lambrusco is not just a summer wine which is why I’m posting a recipe for Lambrusco Spritz in February. Although the temperatures may still be wintry, I’m thinking this cocktail would be great for a Valentine’s celebration or a Galentine’s get together.
What is Lambrusco
Lambrusco is a sparkling Italian red wine from Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region in the north. Although it’s technically a sparkling wine, I think it’s pretty light on the bubbles. It also ranges from a dark rosé to a deep red in color.
For this photo shoot, I went with the lighter Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco di Sorbara since that is what was used at the restaurant where I first had this Lambrusco Spritz. However, I have also made this using a darker, more full-bodied Lambrusco and found I liked it just as much. The darker varieties of Lambrusco will make the cocktail more of a berry color rather than the deep orange you see in these photos.
Just as there is a range in color for different Lambrusco varieties, there’s also a range in sweetness. I like my cocktails on the sweet side so I looked for “dolce” on the labels and descriptions. My advice is to buy a mid-price Lambrusco that you would enjoy drinking on its own. Going with the cheapest option on the shelf is rarely a good idea.
How to make a Lambrusco Spritz
A wine spritz has three basic ingredients – a sparkling wine, an aperitif (an alcoholic liqueur), and sparkling water. If you want to call ice an ingredient, you could say there are four ingredients since ice is an important component in the final cocktail.
The ratios of each component is the subject of much debate but the best part of mixing your own cocktails is getting to it mix your way. My ideal ratio is 3 parts Lambrusco to 1 part Aperol (an Italian bitter apéritif) and a splash of sparkling water. As I mentioned before, I like my cocktails on the sweet side so I also add a dash of simple syrup. It’s totally optional if you don’t like your cocktails as sweet.
- 1 ounce Aperol
- 3 ounces Lambrusco wine
- 1/2 teaspoon simple syrup, to taste (optional)
- club soda or sparkling water, to taste
- 1 orange slice, for garnish (optional)
- Fill a wine glass about halfway with ice.
- Add the Aperol, Lambrusco, simple syrup (if using), and a splash of sparkling water. Gently stir together.
- Serve with an orange slice if desired.
To make simple sugar, heat equal parts sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Let cool completely before using.
Keywords: lambrusco, aperol, spritz, lambrusco cocktail