Sangria Spritz

By Ann Fulton

Enjoy the fruity, sweet-tart flavor of classic sangria in this light, refreshing, 3-ingredient spritz – and then customize according to season with your favorite fruit garnishes.
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Enjoy the fruity, sweet-tart flavor of classic sangria in this light, refreshing, 3-ingredient spritz – and then customize according to season with your favorite fruit garnishes.

 

The concept of a spritz dates back to the ancient Greeks and Romans; it is believed that wine was often diluted with water to keep people from becoming drunk during mealtime. Apparently, Dionysus, the god of wine, was the only one who was permitted to drink wine that wasn’t watered down. 

Centuries later, the spritz is more commonly traced to Northern Italy, when it was occupied by Austrians under the Hapsburg Empire. To improve what they considered to be sub-par wine, the Austrians would add a “spritz” (which means “splash” in German) of water to the wine to make it more palatable.

These days, all spritzes have bubbles, whether added through a sparkling wine or seltzer water. Spritzes also typically have a low ABV (alcohol by volume) and a citrus garnish, making them a refreshingly light drink that many enjoy sipping throughout the day and into the evening. 

And while the Aperol Spritz may be the most well known of all spritzes (for food reason – the linked recipe is a good one!), the following lighter take on the classic sangria has proven popular with my family and friends as well. 

In this Spanish-inspired variation on the classic spritz, Lambrusco, a sparkling red wine (more on that below), replaces the Prosecco called for in the Aperol spritz. Beyond that, the other two main ingredients are the same, with slightly different ratios.

Like any good sangria, of course, this cocktail incorporates fruit. An apple and orange slice are solid year round options, and as the seasons permit, fruit like berries and peaches make delightful additions.

As with any cocktail, you can play with the proportions and tailor to taste. To that end, I include a few tips and options in the recipe card. 

Enjoy the fruity, sweet-tart flavor of classic sangria in this light, refreshing, 3-ingredient spritz – and then customize according to season with your favorite fruit garnishes.

What is Lambrusco?

Lambrusco is a type of wine grape grown in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy. It’s also a sparkling red wine made from the Lambrusco grape, which is what is used in the following sangria spritz.

Lambrusco wines are fruit-forward in flavor, and the best are dry (secco) or barely sweet (semisecco). They are typically made in a semi-sparkling style, meaning they have a hint of effervescence, and generally have a low alcohol by volume, or ABV (usually around 11%). These qualities make Lambrusco ideal for a refreshingly light spritz.

(As an aside, the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) defines low ABV as under 11%, medium from 11–14%, and high as over 14%.) 

And even though Lambrusco may be new to you, it’s widely available and relatively inexpensive. I often purchase Emilio by Nessun Dorma, which currently retails for $15.99. There are lots of good options, so if you don’t see that brand and have no idea what to buy, simply ask for a dry or semi-dry Lambrusco.

Enjoy the fruity, sweet-tart flavor of classic sangria in this light, refreshing, 3-ingredient spritz – and then customize according to season with your favorite fruit garnishes.

When buying Lambrusco, I look for a dry (secco) or barely sweet (semisecco) bottle. It’s typically located near the Prosecco, Champagne, and other sparkling wines. Emilio by Nessun Dorma is a readily available option where I shop.

What is Aperol?

Originating from Italy, Aperol is an infusion of herbs and roots, although its two most distinctive flavors are orange and rhubarb. Aperol is classified as a liqueur, like Campari (the two happen to be produced by the same company), but with about half the alcohol and less bitterness. Considered light by liquor standards, Aperol’s ABV is 11%.

As mentioned, another favorite cocktail using Aperol is this quintessential Aperol Spritz

Rounding things out…

The third main ingredient in the sangria spritz is sparkling water or club soda. Either works well to enhance the light, refreshing quality of the cocktail.

Fruity garnishes, of course, are essential to sangria, and here they allow for seasonal customization. Orange and apple are classic additions, but grapes, peaches, strawberries, cherries, and even melon are fair game.  

As an option, I often add a splash of Fresca – Sprite works well too. The soda is actually a common sangria addition I learned when living in Madrid years ago, as it boosts the effervescence with an added hint of citrusy sweetness.

 Three main ingredients and an easy-to-remember ratio makes a light, refreshing Sangria Spritz as convenient as it is crowd-pleasing.  

I’d love to know if you try this recipe. Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @fountainavenuekitchen on Instagram and Facebook. Your feedback is always appreciated.

Sangria Spritz
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes
Yield: 1 serving
Three main ingredients and an easy-to-remember ratio makes a light, refreshing Sangria Spritz as convenient as it is crowd-pleasing.  
Ingredients
  • 3 ounces (85ml) Lambrusco, chilled*
  • 2 ounces (57ml) Aperol
  • 2 ounces (57ml) sparkling water or club soda, chilled
  • Optional: splash of Fresca or Sprite
  • Garnish options: slice of apple and orange (my go-to); also delicious as the seasons allow are peach or nectarine slices, strawberries, cherries, apricots, pears, red and/or green grapes, and/or lemon or lime wheel
Instructions

Add ice to a red wine goblet, tumbler, or double old-fashioned glass, and pour in the Lambrusco and Aperol. Top with the sparkling water and gently stir to combine. A splash of the optional Fresca or Sprite is perfect for those who enjoy a hint more sweetness.

Drop in the fruit garnishes and enjoy. I like to squeeze one orange slice into the drink – the juice is a lovely addition – and garnish with a second.

Notes

* When buying Lambrusco, I look for a dry (secco) or barely sweet (semisecco) bottle. It’s typically located near the Prosecco, Champagne, and other sparkling wines. I often purchase Emilio by Nessun Dorma.

Tailor the flavor to taste by adding an extra splash of Aperol and/or a squeeze of a juicy orange garnish for more sweetness or a squeeze of lime for more tartness.

When serving the spritzes in warm weather, when ice melts quickly, I reduce the sparkling water to 1½ ounces so as not to have a watered-down drink.

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