I’ll cut to the chase: It’s a drink called “Il Spriz” made by Mionetto, the same Italian company that makes Prosecco, which I thought was the Italian version of Champagne until a reader corrected me, below. (Grazie Franco!) Il Spriz is a symphony of citrus and herbal flavors–slightly fizzy, fresh, tingly and crisp. I swooned at first sip. Transported to a piazza on the arm of a dashing but penniless Venetian count who calls me principessa… Or maybe I was just thirsty.
The perfect aperitif. Like a Campari-soda but not bitter, and not too sweet either. I hate too-sweet. It’s served straight from the bottle, over ice, with an orange slice or an olive. No mixing; just open and pour. What it lacks finesse it gains in efficiency. And at 8% alcohol, you can drink it for breakfast. Not that I’m suggesting it.
Writing this makes me wonder how on earth people write about wine. Or read about it for that matter. Jay McInerney is a wonderful writer who writes well about wine… I’m getting off the subject… But while I’m at it there is a quote attributed to Martin Mull, who said that “writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” Now I’m really off the subject.
Anyhoo, Mionetto introduced Il Spriz to the US market this spring as a paean to the Venetian “spritz,” made with white wine, sparkling water, and either Campari (which I know of), or Aperol, Select, or Cynar (which I don’t know of and which they do not carry at the Piggly-Wiggly in Tarboro). The original spritz (aka spritzer) is just white wine and fizzy water; and boring–likely begun by Austrian forces occupying Northern Italy in the 19th century as a way to dilute wine that was a little stronger than the beer they were used to. And probably did drink for breakfast.
The Italians gave the spritz its style, which they can give to just about anything. Here’s a New York Times piece on the spritz, if you’re interested. A cute blog I came across called the Fab Housewife also wrote about the spritz during her trip to Venice.
Il Spriz was introduced to me by garrulous restaurateur Timothy Gaglio, whose new Osteria Salina in Bridgehampton is a great addition to the Hamptons restaurant scene. He ordered it for me unbidden, and when its rather garishly orange iteration arrived I was skeptical, but it did look refreshing. Oooh child. So unbridled was my enthusiasm that Timothy gave me a bottle. He had no idea at the time I was a writer, but I reckon my accepting his gift–for it seemed ungracious to do otherwise–technically makes me “on the take” with this post. One drink and I’m Italian… KIDDING, I’m kidding!
Calories about 100 per 4 ounces, compared to wine at about 100 calories per 5 ounces . Cost about $15 per 750 ml bottle. Grazie, Timothy!