Are you a spritzer fan yet? These light, bubbly drinks are wonderfully refreshing, and are the perfect thing to drink on the porch during warm spring evenings. They can be spiked with alcohol or left nonalcoholic for the young’uns but they’re delicious either way. The traditional definition of a spritzer is a mixture of wine and club soda, but like most things in the kitchen, that definition is merely a starting point for culinary genius. Break out the juicer and liven up your spritzers with super-fresh juice, featuring fruits, herbs, and even a stray veggie.
Combine these juices with the suggested sodas and liqueurs below, or invent your own combinations. And feel free to taste liberally as you go–how else will you know when it’s perfect?
Mint + strawberry
Run a handful of strawberries and some freshly washed mint leaves through your juicer. Mix the resulting juice with club soda, ice, a sweet liqueur, and garnish with extra mint leaves. Sweeten with agave or raw sugar if desired, or add more strawberry juice.
Pineapple + lemon + honey
If you juice an entire pineapple, and you’ll have enough for a pitcher or two of spritzers. Use about 3 parts pineapple to 1 part lemon. Pour over ice, add vodka (optional). Sweeten to taste with honey, and revel in this delicious springtime lemonade.
Blackberry + basil
This one’s similar to the mint + strawberry combination, but try serving it with St. Germain (an elderflower liqueur). You might never recover from the deliciousness.
Cucumber + lime + rosemary
Run one cucumber, several limes (depending on how puckery you like your limeade), and 1-2 sprigs of rosemary through the juicer. To amp up the rosemary flavor, make a quick simple syrup by boiling equal parts sugar and water with a few sprigs of rosemary, and allowing the mixture to cool. This is a great starting point for a springtime twist on the gin and tonic, don’t you think? Mix the cucumber-lime-rosemary juice with gin, tonic, and a spoonful or two of the rosemary simple syrup, to taste. Garnish with a wedge of lime and a sprig of rosemary.
Pomegranate + grapefruit
Yes, we’re getting fancy. Run a ruby-red grapefruit through your juicer for about 1/2 cup grapefruit juice. Seed a pomegranate and run the seeds through the juicer for about 1/2 cup pomegranate juice. Combine and sweeten with agave or sugar. (Or leftover rosemary simple syrup?) Jazz it up with club soda, ice, and the alcohol of your choice.
photo attribute: Brian Lary