A Fall Twist on Red Wine Spritzer

Once relegated to garden parties and summer soirees, red wine spritzers are now a favorite for fall, thanks in part to bitters.

Forget its lowbrow reputation and remember it’s a favorite Spanish refresher. Switch out the tradi­tional lemon soda for a splash of seltzer and amp the sophistication with a dash of bitters. Instantly, the red wine spritzer becomes a great fall sipper. Red wine gives it more body and substance than a white wine cocktail and, of course, lends a festive color. The bitters add backbone to the low-alcohol drink, perfect for casual gatherings. Give it a hint of the holidays by stirring with a cinnamon stick. 

What You’ll Need

4 ounces medium-body red wine 

4 ounces soda water 

4 dashes orange bitters 

½ ounce orange juice 

Orange peel garnish 

Utah Gets Even Bitter

Americans—and especially Utahns—are famous for their sweet tooth. But we’re learning to love sweet’s opposite: bitter as in the astringent taste that comes in bitters. Maybe it started with the radicchio and arugula craze of the ’80s. That has settled into a permanent relationship but perhaps it broadened our palate to include bitterness.

red wine spritzers
Photo courtesy of Bitters Lab

The popularity of Amaro, Campari, Aperol and Fernet Branca have all increased. In San Francisco, a favorite drink is Fernet and ginger beer and I have a friend whose regular drink is a Coors Banquet with a shot of Fernet. (Yes, odd. We all think so.) This category has exploded. No longer do we have to choose between Angostura and Peychaud’s. In Utah alone there are several bitters-makers—Bitters Lab, Grandeur View Bitters and Honest John Bitters that make dozens of flavored bitters.

Mary Brown Malouf
Mary Brown Maloufhttps://www.saltlakemagazine.com/
Mary Brown Malouf is the late Executive Editor of Salt Lake magazine and Utah's expert on local food and dining. She still does not, however, know how to make a decent cup of coffee.

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