A Perfect Refresher for Spring
by Julia Ebell, Gibson Creative Director
Do you have any shameful secrets? Have you ever given your heart to something no one else understands? Do you know the kind of secret passion that, kept too long to yourself, changes the arrangement of your heart and mind and morals and guts so you find yourself leaning over the bar after a couple and whispering it to the sympathetic-looking bartender? Have you ever loved a white wine spritzer?
White wine spritzers are my secret, my guilty pleasure; one that I will only admit when already half-drunk, dead tired, and fiending for a dance floor. The low ABV keeps me from falling over, the bubbles are refreshing, and the lemon peel can be repurposed as an à la minute breath freshener depending on how that dance floor goes.
The only thing that allows me to retain my composure as the bartender’s look of confusion turns to mild horror as he or she realizes there’s a cougar* loose in their workplace is the knowledge that wine spritzers have a long, noble, and very Germanic history.
According to the SAGE Encyclopedia of Alcohol the spritz probably originated in Austria in the mid 1800s, with its name coming from the German süssgespritzter. I assume they came about from the custom of drinking carbonated spa waters and a generalized enthusiasm for wine, the OG health drink. But feel free to prove me wrong (or fund my research). There are a ton of charming Hungarian names for different varieties of spritzers, including ones that translate to teddy bear, long step, and whistle.
From the Austrio-Hungarian Empire, the spritz spread through Europe, with every country putting its spin on the low alcohol plus bubbles template. Aperol Spritzes are cool! Pimm’s Cups are cool! Our pals at Bad Hunter Chicago are supercool spritz aficionados! White wine spritzers are... not cool, whatever the New York Times says every couple of years. Still, the pleasure of the white wine spritzer are worth the shame of ordering them.
*Cougars are judged by behavior, not age or gender. Please consider releasing your inner cougar soon--it’s a lot of fun.