Rewind to 1800s Venice: the merchants and soldiers of the Austrian empire are red-eyed and a little too happy. It’s the North-Eastern Italian wine that’s got to them – the beer-drinkers from the east aren’t used to anything this lubricating. They start asking for a “spritzen”, or a spray of water in their drinks. The primordial spritz is born – wine plus water.
Fast-forward 100 years. The Venetians realise they can have fizz with anything they want. They add Aperol, Cynar or Campari to Prosecco and throw in a slice of orange and some ice. Every Venetian bar has a different take on the drink.
Here in Melbourne, World Class venue Lui Bar is dedicated to the art of mixology. While a spritz may be among the simpler recipes on the menu, bartender Jenna Hemsworth has found a way to spice it up. “The Gin-ger Spritz is a change from the traditional Spritz,” she says. “It strays away from the bitter element and incorporates some sweetness from the honey, with some spice from the ginger beer – I use fever tree which is super spicy – and a nice cooling refreshment from the mint.”
Hemsworth says that the Gin-ger Spritz “is a great apertif drink, but can also be enjoyed as an easy to replicate cocktail.”
Gin-ger Spritz by Jenna Hemsworth
Approximately 1.25 standard drinks
20ml Tanqueray no.TEN gin
10ml lemon juice
10ml honey syrup
8 mint leaves
Combine ice, Tanqueray no.TEN gin, lemon juice and honey into a shaker. Shake, then strain into a wine glass. Top with ginger beer and prosecco. Garnish with mint leaves.