A Scintillating Summer Cocktail – “Il Spriz”

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.

Mionetto il Spriz
Mionetto il Spriz

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.

Spritz witha slice of orange
A traditional Venetian spritz with a slice of orange and an olive, if I'm not mistaken. Not just for breakfast anymore.

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.

Spritz, via the FabHousewife.com

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!

Mionetto il Spriz
Mionetto il Spriz

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!


  1. Looks like a delish summer indulgence. I have no idea how people write about wine either. I’d have to put a pillow and blanket under the table, because that’s where I’d be all day!

  2. Since I know as much Italian as “The Cowboy” does French I am going with Magnifico;) Looks divine & your scripting make it sound heavenly!

  3. i tried to find it here and am thinkin it’s not in Georgia yet…..darn… it looks awesome..thanks, and will keep looking.

  4. Cool Article… one thing though… Prosecco is not italian champagne… Italy’s equivalent would be Franciacorta.

  5. Ah, Frances, the Heavens bless you! Read this post a bit late (it’s almost the 4th), was rather grumpy when I started to read it and now am in a fabulous mood and heading out to find this glorious concoction. If found, will be added to our Grand 4th Celebration and Barbecue. In the words of The Cowboy, magnifico! That always cracks me up because it reminds me of my parents when they were learning English, way back in the 60s when we arrived in the U.S. and my father ending every sentence with his version of thank you which sounded like “Sank ewe” and he would beam and say (in Spanish) “See, see? I am getting better!” He did learn to speak English flawlessly, with a very charming accent, but to his dying day could not pronounce Mississippi, it always came out as “Missippippippi.” We always traveled during the summer and whenever we crossed the Mississippi, I’d ask “What is the name of this river?” and he would answer “Missippippippi” making me crack up and he’d say “Laugh all you want, you’ve got a roof over your head and are eating with my English!” Mille grazie for the memories!

    1. EB you have the best stories and this is wonderful and hilarious! I can hear him saying Sank Ewe! Sank Ewe once again for your contribution. Good luck finding the Spriz – but if you can’t – just mix Compari or one of the other concoctions and make your own. Happy 4th! Frances

  6. hey- i did try liquor stores and whole foods — all said ga’s often one of the last places to get new liquors….whoknew?? will try again soon…

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