Alie & Georgia: Sit Back and Relax with an Aperol Spritz

06/19/2014 at 03:16 PM ET


Rolfo Eclaire/Getty; Inset:Taylor Hill/Getty

Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark, a.k.a. Alie & Georgia, host Cooking Channel food-travel series Tripping Out with Alie & Georgia. Visit PEOPLE.com every Thursday for their playful spins on celebrity recipes, cocktails, entertaining ideas—and, of course, lots of laughs!

If we have any advice for cocktailers this summer it’s: SPRITZ IT UP. This merits the aggressive all-caps because it’s imperative, guys. There is no better time than a season of long days and warm nights to indulge in a hydrating, fizzy delicious spritzer.

Now, if you hear the word spritzer and immediately think of a bottled blue raspberry-flavored wine cooler guzzled behind a dumpster by teenagers, please recalibrate your expectations. Get them out of the gutter, because a spritzer is ever-so-different from a wine cooler.

“Wine coolers” are usually malt liquor and sugar water, plus a little food coloring and some shame. But a “wine spritzer” is a refreshing Austrian cocktail of wine and sparkling water. A “spritz” is the Italian version made with sparkling wine, liqueur and a little seltzer. The European versions are as fun as they are sophisticated. Let’s follow their lead.

Bonus: Spritzy things offer some great opportunities to play around with ingredients and flavors, and because they have a little more water content and less alcohol, you can sip them leisurely without getting sloppy. Here’s how to make a wine spritzer and one of our favorite cocktails, an Aperol spritz. In no time, you’ll be enjoying one of these on a patio and gently lecturing your friends about how spritzing is the way of the future.

SPRITZER
You need three things to make a spritzer: white wine, sparkling water and ice. Does life get any easier? Nope. We like a nice crisp white like a pinot grigio, but the beauty of the wine spritzer is that it’s nearly foolproof. You also don’t have to precisely measure anything. You can do a rough 1:1 ratio of sparkling water to wine, or for a less boozy thirst quencher, up the water.

If you feel like getting creative, toss in a citrus garnish, like a grapefruit peel, or try a sprig of mint. You can also sweeten the deal with an extra splash of booze like St. Germain, an elderflower liqueur. Have some bitters in the cabinet? Add a dash or two. Opportunity is on your side. Failure is unlikely.

SPRITZ
Now, a spritz is simply a sparkling wine (like Champagne or prosecco) plus ice and a splash of aperitif liqueur (like Campari) topped with a little sparkling water. Our favorite spritz might be one made with Aperol, which is a citrusy, bitter-but-sweet Italian liqueur similar to Campari but with a lower alcohol content. Keep an eye open for this wonderful stuff, which growing in popularity among the craft cocktail set.

Aperol Spritz 

3 parts prosecco
2 parts Aperol
1 splash soda
Orange wedge, for garnish

Add prosecco, Aperol and a splash of soda to a glass filled with ice. Garnish with an orange wedge. Donezo.

Finally, if you’re a die-hard red wine drinker and you’re feeling left out of the mix, check out our recipe for a Sweetish Summer Spritzer — it’s like glogg and sangria had a wonderful, beautiful baby. Happy sipping.

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Healthy tip

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