The Spritz may have been born by the canals of Venice, but it’s coming of age on the packed terraces of London’s rooftop bars. Ten years ago nobody drank them; now we can’t get enough of the stuff.
It’s is one of the simplest cocktails to make. Find the largest glass you can, fill it with a lot of ice (the more ice, the less dilution), add prosecco and/or soda water to a generous measure of your base spirit, drop in an orange slice to garnish and Bob’s your tipsy uncle. I favour the Kamm & Sons Britz Spritz, but the most common are the Campari and Aperol versions.
So why have the British taken this cocktail to their gullets? Academics have theories about how fashions spread. The main three are trickle-down, trickle-across and trickle-up, which are all essentially about us blindly copying the habits of other social classes. I'm not convinced by these Marxist interpretations, and think the rise of the Spritz may have more to do with the class of the cocktail than of the person drinking it. I suspect a few reasonable summers, the rising trend for low alcohol cocktails, and its welcoming colour and presentation have helped it rise through the ranks.
Whatever the reasons behind its surge in popularity, the Spritz looks set to become as integral to the industrial-cocktail-complex as the Gin & Tonic (a cocktail so ubiquitous that most people don’t even think it’s deserving of the name “cocktail”). But Campari isn’t stopping there: it also wants to overthrow the G&T with the Campari & Tonic.
Surely the bitter Campari and the quinine in tonic water would make for a revolting combination? It took a couple of glasses to convince me otherwise – perhaps the conditions weren’t right – but now I believe Campari and tonic makes a powerful union.
However fashions spread, I suspect an increasing number of people will be letting this upstart cocktail into their lives. Drinkers of the world unite – you have nothing to lose but your balance.