the perfect aperol spritz illustration by vidhya nagarajan

5 tips for making the perfect spritz

A spritz is an easy cocktail to make at home, and it doesn’t even involve any fancy or hard-to-find ingredients. All it takes to make a good spritz is the 3:2:1 formula: three parts sparkling wine like prosecco to two parts bitter liqueur to one part bubbly water; add a garnish and serve over ice. While this formula won’t steer you wrong, there are a few simple ways to elevate this good-but-simple spritz into something worthy of a special occasion at home.

Tip No.1
Do not buy trash bubbles. They don’t need to be top of the line, but skip the $5 prosecco and instead splurge on the $9 bottle. Even more important than the quality of the bubbles, however, is the residual sugar count. Prosecco’s scale for residual sugar is a bit confusing; the designation of “dry” is actually the sweetest. The scale from sweetest to the most dry is as follows: dry, extra dry, brut, extra brut, zero. Pro tip: Zero is hard to find in the U.S., so if like us you prefer super dry, look for an extra brut.

Tip No.2
Buy a stopper for your bottle. I am 100% Team Finish-That-Bottle, but even if your plan is to share the bottle among friends, unless you are pouring out the whole bottle in one round, top it with a stopper. A good stopper will cost you $5 and will save you from years and years of gross, flat bubbles.

Tip No.3
In addition to the typical orange wedge, garnish that spritz with a green olive. I don’t even like green olives, but I always add one to my spritz. It gives just a touch of salt and brine to the drink that perfectly complements the sweet of the prosecco and bitter of the Aperol.

Tip No.4
This is the most important tip, please take it seriously even though this advice sounds like something Homer Simpson might recommend: Never serve a spritz without potato chips. If this were to happen in Italy there would be a riot. The bar would close. There would be a strike (in addition to the train strikes already happening every other day). To serve this drink without potato chips is like serving a porterhouse steak without a glass of red wine. Uncouth. Sad. Reckless.

Tip No.5
Be creative! The beauty of a spritz is that you can tailor it to your taste. If you think your spritz is too sweet or too bitter or too dry, experiment with your ratios and types of prosecco. If you normally prefer extra brut prosecco but your spritz tastes too bitter, try bumping up to a sweeter option. Also, a spritz doesn’t need Aperol; instead of Aperol, try the 3:2:1 formula with any bitter or liqueur of your choice such as Campari, amaro, limoncello or St. Germain.

However you decide to make your spritz, if you make it at home, you will be saving your money for a future trip to Italy where you can drink all the spritzes your heart desires on the cheap. In the meantime, cin cin, and don’t forget the potato chips.