THERE’S ALWAYS AN EXCUSE FOR A BIT OF FIZZ.
I’m sure many people had a similar introduction to the bubbly stuff – New Year’s Eve with your Auntie filling up your plastic cup with fizzy brut. I’ve loved sparkles ever since and always insist on having a bottle in the fridge, ready for any occasion. Once I started to discover the world of cocktails, the natural progression was to start adding spirits and liqueurs to the bottom of my flute glass. This is a sure-fire way to really celebrate. For the benefit of my guests, I’ve taken to swapping my flute for a larger wine glass, adding some ice and topping with soda. The Spritz, with or without ice and soda, is a long, refreshing drink packed full of sparkling charm.
The Secret Weapon
Let’s start with something designed to blow your head off. The 75mm was the French military’s most powerful field gun. The key to the weapon’s formidable success was guarded in secrecy by the French authorities… until the New York Bar in Paris started mixing gin, sugar and lemon with bubbly. Soixante Quinze (‘75’) is a punchy sparkling cocktail with a gorgeous citrus zing. The floral bouquet of sparkling wines is cut beautifully by the moreish sharpness of citrus. Triplecello seems an obvious choice. Pour this lemon, orange and pink grapefruit liqueur into a Champagne flute. Add an equal part of gin, top with chilled sparkling wine and garnish with a lemon twist.
Citrusy gins mix amazingly with Italian sparkling wines which are typically sweeter and more floral. Whereas floral gins can really brighten and lift drier sparkling wine, such as Brut, NV Champagne, or Cava.
Drink like a Soldier
Traditionally, a Spritz is defined by the addition of soda water and ice to sparkling wine. The story goes that Austrian soldiers, despite the strength of their Empire, couldn’t hack the strength of Venetian wine. They added soda so that they could still man the watchtowers in the morning. Today, raising a glass of bubbly should come with the expectation that your post will be unmanned come sunrise. For a quick and easy Spring Spritz at home, browse Belvoir’s range of naturally flavoured cordials. Fill a wine glass with ice and add 1/3 part of a Belvoir cordial, 2 parts gin and top with sparkling wine and a splash of soda.
Bartenders obsess over reducing, fermenting, and blending our own syrups, falernums, and bitters. But, truthfully, I’ve spent days buzzed on sugary syrups trying to perfect a blend. Belvoir have done the hard work for you!
It’s All Bubbles in the End
I have already introduced you to the wonderful floral twist Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto can offer a Negroni, but it also goes stunningly well with prosecco, a splash of gin and, if you must, some soda water. For an Italicus Spritz, add the Italicus and gin in equal parts to an iced wine glass, fill with bubbles and garnish with olives and a slice of orange. Feel free to abandon the gin altogether in favour of liqueurs. For example, Triplecello can add a sharp and refreshing bite to a Kir Royale. Add 1 part Triplecello to 1 part White Heron British Cassis in the bottom of a flute glass and top with chilled sparkling wine.