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What do you think of when you hear "wine spritzer?"

I used to picture a woman with Lee press-on nails wearing 1980s chic, or maybe "The Simpsons" episode where Ned Flanders stops himself from ordering a Shirley Temple and instead decides to go out on a limb and loudly request a "white wine spritzer!"

You can make a good case for the spritzer, though. In the shadow of the smoky, booze-heavy craft cocktail movement, the light and bubbly spritzer is falling back into fashion. 

The sales and production of hard seltzer products are rising, too, proving that people are looking for a light, sometimes low-calorie, low-alcohol, bubbly drink. Spritzers are a great go-to for a pre-dinner drink, when you're more susceptible to getting too buzzed on an empty stomach, or during brunch in place of the train of  bottomless mimosas or Bloody Marys. 

At SheWolf Pastificio & Bar, a new Rome-inspired pasta restaurant that opened last month at 438 Selden in Detroit, chef Anthony Lombardo's 13-page wine and drink menu kicks off with a selection of spritz cocktails that are high in flavor but low in alcohol.

During a recent hot, sunny evening, it seemed every other person seated at the bar was sipping Aperol These Years, SheWolf's sparkling rosé cocktail served over ice in an over sized wine glass with strawberry- and basil-infused Aperol and balsamic shrub. The Aperol gives it that craft cocktail bitterness, but the wine and fruit make it light and summery. 

For a crisp, stern start to your meal — SheWolf specializes in house made pasta made from freshly-milled flour — instead of a dirty martini, try their Giuseppe of the Lakes, made with Amaro Nardini (an Italian liqueur), Aperol, lemon, prosecco and buttery Castelvetrano olives. 

Over at new neighborhood bar Kiesling Detroit (449 E. Milwaukee), bartender Amanda Mentzer works her magic mixing bubbly and bitter flavors. She makes her version of a negroni using cava instead of gin to bring the alcohol content down. She also blends Sfumato (a smoky rhubarb amaro) with tonic, soda and grapefruit peel for a fizzy and not-too-sweet beverage. 

You can get your spritz fix at home, too. Take a bitter liquor, a wine and some soda or tonic and experiment. Consider Martini & Rossi Riserva Speciale Bitter, which Food & Wine declared to be the best new bitter liqueur for fans of Campari, the standard for bitter cocktail crafting. 

They recommend it with 1 ounce of the bitter, 4 ounces of your favorite sparkling rose and 2 ounces of grapefruit soda. Pour it all together in a wine glass with ice. 

mbaetens@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @melodybaetens 

 

 

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