Winter in Sarasota, Florida is hardly that, instead, we are faced with a few days where the warm-blooded residents dust off their puffy jackets and scarves for a stroll in 50+ degree weather around town. After this “deep freeze” comes the beautiful crisp afternoons of March and as we draw near the beginning of Spring, one thing is on our mind… the Spritz.
We asked our Beverage Director David Tlaiye a few questions regarding the ever-popular effervescent cocktail and why it seems to have made a new resurgence in the mixology universe.
Z: So, David, what makes a Spritz, a Spritz?
D: It’s all about the bubbles. A traditional spritz has Prosecco and club soda or some form of sparkling water, and bitters. In this new golden age of cocktails, and with the popularity of hard seltzers and other similar products, people are embracing the Spritz template and running with it in really creative ways.
Z: Is there any historical background to this cocktail, is this like a vintage turned cool trend?
D: It is a product of the Italian culture, especially post WW2. Italy saw an economic boom then which started this carefree lifestyle, called Sprezzatura. People loved drinking spritzes in cafes during the afternoon, and they weren’t too strong so people could go back to work. It’s not until more recently that the US adopted the famous Aperol Spritz and the Spritz culture.
Z: What kind of Spritzes do you feature at Sage and what was your inspiration for them?
D: Our ‘Sota Spritz on our Brunch menu is our current offering. I wanted to make a simple variation of the Aperol Spritz by adding a blood orange puree. The blood orange adds a unique citrus flavor, and the puree creates a delightful texture. It’s beautiful in color and might just be my favorite brunch cocktail right now. But we’re always brainstorming, so expect some more Spritz cocktails on our upcoming rooftop menus.
Z: What is an absolute sin when it comes to this cocktail?
D: Not enough ice! You need a lot of ice to keep the drink cold, to keep it from getting watered down too quickly, and keep it effervescent. Definitely, no flat soda or flat wine because again, it’s all about the bubbles! Keep it crisp, keep it fresh, keep it bubbly, and keep it fun!
Z: What is a simple and quick recipe that I can make at home with minimal ingredients? I’m not one for overshopping.
D: If you have soda water and sparkling white wine, you’re more than halfway there. Add your favorite Italian or French liqueur like Campari, Aperol, Cynar, Lillet, or whatever you prefer. For a cool twist at home, take some leftover fresh herbs, like rosemary, and make a simple syrup. Throw your herbs in and steep them in that syrup, and you have a delicious and easy way to make a great winter Spritz at home.
The Spritz is an easy way to impress your friends when they join you for the poolside Saturday gathering and with minimal preparation, this can be done in a flash. Check out this go-to recipe from the Sage bar team that is easily recreated at home.
The Rosemary and Crime
The simple syrup
1 cup water
1 cup cane sugar
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
In a pot, boil the water and sugar until sugar is fully dissolved, and add three sprigs of rosemary. Let the rosemary steep for about 30 min or until syrup is cooled. Remove rosemary and store in an airtight container.
1.5 oz of Campari
1 oz of rosemary simple syrup
Fill your glass with ice. Add in Campari and rosemary syrup over your ice. Top with equal parts prosecco & sparkling water and garnish with a rosemary sprig and sliced lemon. Sit back and enjoy your expertly prepared cocktail, preferably by the water. For a bonus, freeze lavender bulbs and blueberries in your ice cube tray to add a pop of vibrant color to your cocktail.
Tlaiye is a Mexican-born, New Orleans native who now mans the helm of the cocktail program at Sage SRQ as Beverage Director.