The Spritz: Canada's unofficial cocktail for summer 2020

We’re declaring the spritz the official cocktail of summer 2020.

With moderate alcohol levels, it’s an easy-going drink that you can have a few of without feeling lousy, which is always a summer win. And there are so many variations of this classic cocktail to enjoy. The original Spritz hails from Northern Italy while it was under control from the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the 1800s. The soldiers found the wine from the region too strong and cut them with a splash (spritzen in German) of water. Thus, the Spritz was born.

The basic components of a spritz are sparkling wine made in the Charmat method (we like Mission Hill Brut), bubbly water and a bitter liqueur of some kind. Perhaps the most popular version of this fizzy drink is the Aperol Spritz, made with the bittersweet Italian liqueur, Aperol, using equal parts of liqueur and Prosecco topped with a splash of soda and a slice of orange.

As craft spirits continue to gain momentum in Canada, there are a number of distillers making quality aromatized wines and liqueurs, which are perfect for different versions of the Spritz.

Distillerie Mariana Zeste (Louiseville, Quebec)


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Quebec is the only province in Canada that has endeavoured to make a bitter orange liqueur similar in style to Aperol, and the Zeste from Distillerie Mariana has become a favourite as of recent years. Made with orange, grapefruit and kumquat, this is just slightly sweeter than Aperol, so you’ll want to add a savoury garnish to balance out the flavours.

Mariana Spritz:

2 ounces Zeste

2 ounces Mission Hill Brut

1 ounce soda water

Mix and serve in a tumbler over ice. Garnish with a slice of orange and a spear with three Niçoise olives

Odd Society Bittersweet Vermouth (Vancouver, B.C.)

Inspired by the sweet red vermouths from Italy, Odd Society Bittersweet Vermouth uses viognier as its base and infuses the wine with 25 different botanicals, including wormwood, cinchona, citrus, rhubarb and a sneaky hint of wintermint. This is best enjoyed with just a splash of soda and twist of orange.

Odd Society Spritz:

2 ounces Bittersweet Vermouth

2 ounces soda water

Mix and serve in a tumbler over large ice cubes. Garnish with a twist of orange.

Ampersand Distilling Company's Imperative Dry Vermouth (Cowichan Valley, B.C.)

Dry vermouth cocktails are very Parisian, something you would sip in the afternoon at a beautiful street side café. The vermouth from Ampersand Distilling Co. is made with a base white wine infused with locally grown wormwood, dandelion root, coriander, cardamom, chamomile and orange peel making it beautifully aromatic with a bitter kiss.

Ampersand Spritz:

2 ounces Imperative dry vermouth

2 ounces soda water

Mix and serve in a tumbler over large ice cubes. Garnish with fresh sliced strawberries.


Affino Aperitivo (Toronto, ON)

A refreshing alternative to the classic spritz, Toronto-made Affino infuses its base spirit with lemon, orange and cinnamon, creating a lively, slightly bitter liqueur. Amp up the flavours by muddling in some fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary.


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Affino Spritz:

2 ounces Limoncello

2 ounces Mission Hill Brut

1 ounce soda water

Muddle a sprig of thyme in the bottom of a tumbler. Add ice and assemble all the ingredients in the glass before giving a gentle stir. Garnish with a twist of lemon.

Amalfi Aperitivo (Toronto, ON)


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If you love a good Spritz but want something portable, then the Crazy Uncle Amalfi Aperitivo is perfect. Made with sparkling wine and infused with burnt orange, tangerine and a blend of botanicals, this is a good alternative to making your own. And it comes in easily packable six-packs of 355mL bottles.