If you have ever travelled to Italy during the summer months, there's a good chance that a spritz found its way into your hand at some point.
Spritz has long held a reputation as the drink of summer in Italy and, in Australia, the trend has caught on. Aperol Spritz is the most famous of the spritzers, with its balance of bitterness and sweetness from the Aperol, mixed with a dry Prosecco, and topped with soda, a fresh slice of orange and loads of ice.
Spritzers aren't restricted to Aperol though. Bars around Newcastle are creating their own take on the cocktail, with flavours such as mint, ginger or pomegranate creating the base flavour for the drink, and a little added gin, vodka or liqueur here and there for extra punch.
Here's a few places to try a spritz:
The Star, 410 King Street, Newcastle There is a section on the menu dedicated to spritz, including the classic Aperol spritz with Aperol, soda, Prosecco and orange; Hugo Spritz with elderflower liqueur, Prosecco, soda, mint and lime; Campari Spritz wth Campari, Prosecco, soda and orange; and Pomegranate Spritz with Mama pomegranate liqueur, Campari, Prosecco, soda and cucumber. The pub's laneway has even been renamed Spritz Lane and, when they host live jazz in the outdoor space on Sunday afternoons (the final one for the year will be held on December 22 from 4pm), Aperol Spritz are available for $10. "I personally fell in love with spritz when I lived in Austria for a year, and Austrians literally spritz everything," hotel owner Alexandra Pultar says. "I first tried the Hugo Spritz in 2010 and instantly fell in love with the total and utter freshness of the drink. A spritz for me is the perfect in-between option when you're over drinking wine, and don't feel like a cocktail." When her family bought the hotel in August last year, Pultar's vision for Spritz Lane came to life. "Sitting under the amazing liquid amber trees, sipping on a spritz in Newcastle's only laneway bar, further accompanied by some amazing live jazz musicians on Sunday; that's Spritz Lane for me," she says. Her recommendations for those curious to try something different to a standard Aperol are the Hugo Spritz and Pomegranate Spritz. "One sweet, one tart. We cater for all flavour palates," she says.
Merewether Surfhouse, 5 Henderson Parade, Merewether (upstairs bar) Boasting arguably the biggest spritz cocktail list in Newcastle, the beachfront bar upstairs not only offers Aperol spritz but seven other spritz creations. These include the Limoncello Spritz with Limoncello, lemon, sugar and soda; Elderflower Spritz with Elderflower Liqueur, Peach Liqueur, lime, mint, cucumber and soda; Watermelon Spritz with prosecco, watermelon liqueur and lime juice; Coconut Campari Spritz with Moscato, coconut washed Campari and soda; Apple and Pomegranate Spritz with Prosecco, Apple Liqueur, pomegranate and soda; Ginger and Rhubarb Spritz with Prosecco, rhubarb-infused gin, muddled ginger, grapefruit and soda; or Blueberry Spritz with gin, blueberry syrup, lime and soda (all $16). Happy hour is Monday to Friday, 4pm to 5.30pm, with all spritz available for $10.
The Flotilla, 9 Albert Street, Wickham The Flotilla run afternoon spritz happy hour every Friday to Sunday from noon to 6pm, with all spritz available for $12. "In many ways, our deck area is designed to drink spritz. You can watch the world go by," The Flotilla's Eduardo Molina says. Like the restaurant's inventive food menu, the drink offerings are creative too. There are four spritzers on the Flotilla menu: Rosaline with Aperol, mandarin vodka, strawberry, rhubarb bitters and sparkling wine; Be Cool with gin, elderflower liqueur, cucumber, chartreuse and soda; Salty Albert with Campari, salted grapefruit and soda; or the Fizzle with chartreuse, citrus oil and soda. "There is a whole world of spritz out there. We are focusing on freshness, seasonal ingredients and character," Molina says.
Parry Street Garage, 106 Parry Street, Newcastle West There are four spritzers on the menu at the Italian eatery, including sorbet-filled versions. There's the Italian with Prosecco, Limoncello and blood orange sorbet ($14), or Sgroppino with Prosecco, Vodka, Limoncello and lemon sorbet ($14). If you want to skip the sorbet, try the Ginger Aperol with Prosecco, Aperol, orange and ginger beer or the Watermelon with Prosecco, watermelon liqueur and fresh lime, and mint and soda. All spritzers cost $14, or drop in during happy hour from 5pm every Sunday to enjoy a spritz for $10 during their afternoon of live music.