Bringing you 2 fabulous spritz drinks to help you keep cool during California’s dog days of summer-early fall.
It’s not the end of summer in California until we endure those final “dog days” through early fall. It’ll be boiling here until Halloween! Sad for most kids because they’ve started school by now. Nice for us adults because we can sneak a dip into the pool with a nice spritzer before the kids get home from school!
When entertaining at home, we look for smooth, refreshing adult beverages for our guests. The easiest and most refreshing are the spritzes; a simple combination of wine (sparkling or not) and soda. You can add liquors or bitters to alter the flavors. They’re really the easiest of cocktails to mix. You can watch me mix the Aperol Spritz here on my video.
Fun fact: Why are the last of the hottest days of the year called “dog days”?
Answer: Because at that time of the year, the constellation Canis Major (the big dog) starts appearing in the sky. The brightest star in that constellation is Sirius, which in Latin means dog – thus, the star is known as the dog star.
And I thought that it was just because dogs tend to lay about and snooze during the day when it’s hottest. I’ll figure out how to work this bit of trivia into my next cocktail patio party when I serve these simple and refreshing drinks. As always, use the largest ice cubes you can to avoid diluting the drinks.
I’ll start with the Aperol spritz I found on Epicurious.com.
If you love the taste of grapefruit and are excited about a drink that blends the taste of orange and some bubbly, then you’ll really enjoy this drink. It’s become one of my most favorite—especially during those hot “dog days.”
Pour into a large wine glass filled with large rocks of ice, and stir:
- 2 ounces of Aperol (an Italian apéritif with a complex orange flavor).
- 2 ounces of sparkling white wine (I use Valdo Prosecco, extra dry in my video)
- 1 ounce of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (prefer “ruby red” variety).
- A “splash” of soda water to taste.
- ½ Grapefruit wheel as garnish (also “ruby red”).
Maybe citrus isn’t your flavor. That’s okay. Here’s another recipe from Epicurious that’s a bit sweeter. The base is the French liqueur St. Germain, made from elderflower. So, prepare for some floral brightness from this spritz.
Pour into a large wine glass filled with large rocks of ice, stir gently:
- 4 ounces of sparkling white wine (again, I suggest Valdo Prosecco, extra dry)
- 1½ ounces St. Germain liqueur
- Splash of club soda to taste
- A sprig of fresh cut lavender to garnish
Serving tip: I prefer serving these drinks in large stemless wine glasses. There’s a lot of liquid and ice here, and the drink might be a little top heavy if you try to mix and serve these spritzes in stemware. Either drink goes well with cold cut fruit to fight off the heat of the afternoon. Makes me think of sitting back on a balcony, enjoying a sunset overlooking the Grand Canal in Venice with friends.