Red Wine Spritzer
Two weeks ago we gave white wine lovers the best drink to stay clear of dry January, but also of the calories. This week we’re choosing red wine fans so we must warn you some of the information may seem repetitive but we guarantee you’ll learn a thing or two.
As we previously said, spritzers are the perfect drink for the summertime, and one country in particular actually takes this proverb very seriously. It may be a tad too cold in the US for summer drinks but wine warms you up, and it’s the best way to day-drink your way to the gym the next morning. The ingredients all depend on what your favorite red wine, berries, and club soda are.
Since red wines are a little more complex than whites, we recommend going with a fruity wine you enjoy, vs any red wine you enjoy. In our humble opinion, and to optimize your time at the store, we’d go with a Pinot Noir, a Red Blend, or a Grenache.
Due to the popularity of red wine spritzers, there is a brand that sells it already bottled, Barefoot. The price point is hard to beat, $6-$8 max… you might be tempted to buy it, but we promise you the satisfaction of having your own ratio will pay off in the end. Go for a middle shelf wine, nothing too fancy, but nothing from the bottom shelf either.
So, we already taught you all about the history of wine itself, but who was the knucklehead who thought it needed club soda? You’d think that this would be one of those muddled drink history lessons, but you’d be wrong.
A Brief History:
Like many other cocktails (yes, it is a cocktail) it has many stories of origin. Let’s begin with the word “Spritzer”... It’s a word from the German language influence in Austria. It is technically the shortened version of the word “Gespritzter” (pronounced G'spritzter). The definition of this noun is derived from the past participle of the word “spritzen” which awkwardly translates to “squirt”. Point is, it’s got German/Austrian roots.
The most likely story takes place in nineteenth-century Austria. The only real difference between their recipe and the one known today was simply the fact they didn’t add ice. However, it was crucial that both the wine and soda water were cold as ice. The Venetians wanted their own sparkling wine to follow the invention of Champagne and Prosecco, this was their best bet and attempt at it.
A more fun version that offers a folklore origin claims the drink actually comes from the country of Hungary. Dating back to 1842 a Hungarian author named András Fáy, was planning an evening soiree for his friends to show off his new wine cellar. One such friend was a scientist named Ányos Jedlik, he showed up to the party with a bottle of soda water which had been a recent invention and thus all the rage. It didn’t take too long for the party to combine the wines and the soda water, they realized by diluting the wine you could drink more of it. The spritzer may have been born there but it certainly was not named on the same occasion, after all these men were proud Hungarians. They called it fröccs, which is Hungarian for a spritzer, the word is still used and translated the same way today.
In Spain, a red wine spritzer (specifically) was invented in the 20th century by a man named Federico Vargas lived in the city of Cordoba and was well known for hosting a hell of a party. The drink he would use to cool off his guests during the murderous heats of the summer in the bohemian town of El Brillante was then called, “Un Vargas.” It was a red wine spritzer that eventually became such a staple during the summer that it has passed the test of time and still a thing today. It’s also sold in cans, a practice that we still can’t decide if it’s disgraceful or not.
In the U.S. the culture of the wine spritzers saw a rise in popularity during the 1980s thanks to a giant TV show called, “Dallas.” The rich and famous of the Texas city were often seen drinking these by the numbers on the 14 seasons running hit. As you know, in America, if the rich and famous do it- the rest tend to follow suit. Ah, trends…
It’s not a terribly old practice but the concept of it is somewhat genius, it helps you drink more wine and that’s something we are very grateful for today.
In Spain, Red Wine Spritzers are now called: Tinto de Verano.
They make it using Rioja wine and a lemon-flavored soda called, “La Casera.”
We do hope 2019 has been a wonderful year for you so far. We’re off to a great start and have so much more in store for you. Let us know if you try our recipe and which wine you used!
Thanks for reading, and as always…