Happy Hour at Home: Let’s Get Spritzy

Be our guest for Happy Hour at Home, a small series about the joys of lesbian socializing from home, because let’s be honest with ourselves — we’re going to be here for a while.

Before our weekly happy hour together can begin, a question: Are you hydrated?

Apparently, I am very bad at hydrating. It took me moving to the desert to learn this unfortunate fact about myself. Sure, I’ve heard the whole “eight eight ounce glasses” a day rule and been like “well, I’m probably doing that.” BITCH. I am not coming EVEN CLOSE to doing that. I know I should probably get one of those bottles that keeps track of how much water you’ve had/still need to guzzle, and yet I’ve found that the most effective way to get my dumb ass to hydrate is to drink water out of a WINE GLASS. So yes, I have made the scary mid-quar discovery that I am turning into my mother.

Drink water right now and then come back to this!!!!!!!!!

Okay, welcome back. Hope you’re more hydrated than I am. It’s summer now, and even though all of our summer plans have changed and we’re still inside most of the time, my girlfriend and I have still been trying to trick ourselves into feeling like it really is summer. And that means it’s spritz o’clock.

The best thing about spritz mixology is that you can pretty much just top off any alcohol on ice with some seltzer or club soda and call it a spritz. It’s a very easy way to make a drink that looks and tastes like something fancy. Even a basic white wine spritzer—literally just white wine with club soda—is a summer treat.

And doesn’t the word “spritz” just sound so good and onomatopoeic? It sounds like running through the mist of a lawn sprinkler or drinking water straight out the garden hose. Spritz sounds like drinking next to a pool. Spritz sounds like condensation slipping off a glass and down your hand while you drink in the sun.

The best known spritz is without a doubt still the Aperol spritz. The ultimate spritz. Listen, it might be tempting to write off a classic Aperol spritz as trendy Instagram bait, but I personally believe the drink is beloved for good reason. It tastes good!!!!! It tastes like summer!!!!! I’ll always associate it with the season and fondly recall when someone attempted to cancel the Aperol spritz and wrote that it “drinks like a Capri Sun after soccer practice on a hot day” AS IF THAT WERE A BAD THING!!!!!

Hot Tip: You can sub pretty much any amaro or apéritif for Aperol in the standard Aperol spritz recipe and it’ll be good.

But here are some non-Aperol spritzes for something a little different.

Anise Spritz

For those who want to drink liquid licorice! The best spirit to use here is the Greek aperitif called ouzo, but you could also use sambuca, pastis, raki, or even absinthe. Pour two ounces in a glass with ice and add the juice of an entire lemon, fresh or dried mint if you have it. Top off with plain or lemon-flavored seltzer.

anise spritz

Cherry Spritz

This is a slight play on the kalimotxo, the brilliant Spanish drink that is just red wine and cola. For this, you’ll need a glass of red wine (nothing too expensive! can be boxed! bonus points for an effervescent red like lambrusco!). Add canned cherry Coke or plain Coke with grenadine syrup and a squeeze of lemon juice. Cut the sweetness a bit with a splash of plain or black cherry-flavored seltzer.

Zesty Gin Spritz

I previously wrote about making fresh citrus margaritas, but if tequila isn’t really your thing, you can still make colorful cocktails with other spirits. I like how gin mixes with fresh citrus, because you get all these botanical and fruity flavors swirling together in a flavor party. Get to juicing whatever citrus you have on hand and combine equal parts juice and gin (or vodka) in a glass with ice. Topped with plain or citrus-flavored seltzer.

Virgin Spritz

For an alcohol-free spritzy drink that isn’t just flavored seltzer, combine a can of tonic water with a teaspoon of lemon zest, a squeeze of lemon juice, and fresh or dried mint or rosemary. You can also make a similarish drink to an Aperol spritz without alcohol by combining tonic water or seltzer, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, and rosemary. It’s not an exact match (rhubarb soda instead of tonic water will be closer, but rhubarb soda isn’t necessarily something people have in their pantries at the moment), but it has the same kind of floral, refreshing taste.

Really, the sky’s the limit. Throw something in a glass with ice and then top it with seltzer and you’ve got a spritz.

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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Orlando. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 808 articles for us.


  1. I love Anise drinks as I have never blacked out drinking one like I have with other hard drinks. Plus, it’s suppose to be a digestive so I feel alright in the morning.

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