Craving a unique, simple, and fresh delicious Italian cocktail? This Italian Lambrusco Spritz recipe will have you coming back for more and it only takes 4 ingredients and a little bit of time.
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After attending culinary school in Italy, I became obsessed not only with the foods of Italy but the drinks as well. Aside from the incredible wine, Italy is the origin of some of the most iconic cocktails.
Lambrusco is a sparkling red wine from the region of Emilia Romagna, Italy. There are different versions of Lambrusco as far as sweetness is concerned, but overall the wine has notable flavors of fruits such as raspberries, cherries, and strawberries.
This fruity and floral wine makes for a lovely variation of the classic Aperol spritz and is the perfect light and refreshing drink for the holiday season. Dive into this to learn how to make an easy Lambrusco cocktail recipe.
What You'll Learn In This Recipe
- The region of Italy that Lambrusco comes from and what makes it unique.
- A simple yet elegant spritz cocktail garnish.
- How to adjust the recipe to make it perfect for you.
If you love this cocktail and want to learn about many others, check out my free bartender cheat sheet where you will find 45 different and delicious cocktail recipes all in one place.
Ingredients You Need
This Italian Lambrusco spritz cocktail only requires 4 simple ingredients to make.
Lambrusco sparkling wine: Lambrusco sparkling wine is a beautiful full-bodied sparkling red wine that is not very sweet but has loads of various fruit notes. Lambrusco comes from the Emilia Romagna region of Italy which is famous for being the origin of infamous Italian culinary staples like balsamic vinegar and Parmigiano Reggiano. It makes sense that a region rich in gastronomic history and quality ingredients would produce beautiful wines as well.
Compared to Prosecco (the classic sparkling wine for a Spritz), Lambrusco is a bit sweeter and less effervescent (bubbly). Additionally, Lambrusco is typically lower in alcohol content making it perfect for casual drinking or day drinking. If you can't find Lambrusco wine, you can get a Syrah wine instead. Syrah is not sparkling but it is full-bodied with lots of fruit notes just like Lambrusco.
Aperol liquor: Originating in 1919 in Padua, Italy, Aperol liqueur was enjoyed for its light and refreshing qualities all across Italy. It was not until the 50s that the recipe for the Aperol spritz we know and love today was born, and it was not until the early 2000s when the Campari company acquired Aperol that the spritz truly boomed. Aperol is an incredibly balanced, fresh, and bittersweet aperitif with a bright orange hue.
Freshly squeezed orange juice: While this is not in the classic Aperol spritz recipe, the fresh citrus sweetness elevates this Lambrusco spritz. I always encourage people to use fresh juice for the best and brightest flavor, but if you prefer to use bottled juice, that is okay as well.
Soda water: Soda water is a broad term for any type of sparkling or carbonated water. Anything labeled club soda, seltzer, or soda water is good to use for this recipe.
For those extra bubbles to provide a super refreshing touch, soda water is the cost-effective ingredient for you. If you want the most crisp bubbly addition, chill your soda water before adding to your spritz. If you want to make this spritz even lower in alcohol content, you can increase the amount of soda water added and decrease the amount of Lambrusco used.
Do not substitute soda water with tonic water. Tonic water has its own unique taste due to the quinine (a compound found in cinchona tree bark) and the additional sweetener.
Orange slice: This ingredient is completely optional, but it is beautiful and is a pretty iconic garnish when it comes to a spritz.
How To Make This Recipe
With just a few simple steps, you will be sipping on a refreshing Lambrusco spritz. The best part about this recipe is how easy and mess-free it is.
1. To begin, gather all your ingredients together. With everything in place, fill a wine glass with ice.
If you want to enjoy an extra cool and refreshing spritz, you can chill your wine glass before you build your cocktail. Simply place the wine glass (or glasses depending on how many drinks you’re making) in the freezer for 30 minutes before using.
It is important to use a glass with a stem for this drink. A spritz is designed to be cool and refreshing. A glass with a stem allows you to hold and enjoy your drink without the heat from your hand warming up the cocktail.
2. Next, use a jigger to measure and add in Aperol, orange juice, Lambrusco sparkling wine, and soda water. In this recipe, I took a classic spritz ratio and twisted a few things around.
Typically, the spritz is 3 parts sparkling wine, 2 parts liqueur, and 1 part soda water. After lots of recipe testing and tasting, I made a few adjustments to this ratio, which you'll see in the recipe card below.
3. Using a bar spoon, give this a good stir. If you are using Syrah instead of Lambrusco, soda water is an essential ingredient because it is the only thing that gives the spritz bubbles.
4. That’s all it takes to make a super refreshing Lambrusco spritz. A simple ‘build-up’ cocktail and only a few ingredients is as easy as adding in and stirring.
Always taste your cocktail before serving. As much as I believe this is the perfect Lambrusco spritz, different people have different palates and preferences. Taste and adjust if needed by adding a bit more of whatever ingredient you feel needs to shine a little more.
If you want, garnish the spritz with an orange slice. Garnishes are more important than you think to make your cocktail pop. For more garnish ideas, check out my list of creative cocktail garnish ideas.
- Want to serve this Italian Aperol spritz for aperitivo (a drink taken before a meal to stimulate your appetite)? Grab a few bowls and fill them with potato chips, nuts, and some olives to serve with this cocktail. It is common in Italian bars for these types of snacks to be offered with a cocktail.
- This Lambrusco spritz from Italy is also great to enjoy with some heavier appetizer bites.
- If you don't feel like this cocktail is sweet enough for your liking, add some simple syrup. Start by adding a little bit at a time, stirring, and then tasting until you find the perfect level of sweetness.
- You can easily make this cocktail for a holiday party by increasing the quantity of ingredients and serving it in a pitcher. To keep the bubbles, have closed bottles of soda water next to the pitcher that people can use to top off their spritz. Here is the recipe for a big batch of Lambrusco Spritz:
- 3 cups (720 ml) Lambrusco sparkling wine
- 1 cup (240 ml) Aperol liqueur
- 1 cup (240 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 cup (240 ml) chilled soda water
- 8 orange slices
It should be available in most wine and liquor stores. It's typically found near other sparkling wines.
Yes, but traditionally no. Because it's a bitter aperitivo traditionally served before dinner, I do not recommend drinking this spritz with dinner.
Try using less Lambrusco and more Aperol.
More Italian Spritz Recipes
Lambrusco Spritz (4 Ingredients)
- 3 ounces Lambrusco sparkling wine
- 1 ounce Aperol liqueur
- 1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 ounce chilled soda water
- orange slice for garnish (optional)
- Fill a wine glass with ice.
- Add Lambrusco sparkling wine, Aperol, orange juice, and soda water. Stir well using a bar spoon.
- Optionally, garnish with an orange slice.