Spritzes have come a long way since the days of wine and soda water, so we challenged four bartenders to come up with modern classics that can add zip to warm afternoons. In the second instalment of our four-part series, Miranda Fitzgerald shares the sparkling secrets of B&H Buildings
Walking into the Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings in Clerkenwell is like a step change in the season. Tropical plants and botanical prints abound in the light-flooded interiors. So it seems fitting that bar manager Alastair Fraser should use the brand-new Ketel One Botanical Grapefruit & Rose as the base spirit in his spritz.
The vodka sits pretty at 30% abv and has no added sugar or artificial sweeteners, while its rose flavour is subtly in the background – and not remotely cloying.
The Belsazar Rosé gets its second outing of the day. ‘It works really well as a secondary ingredient, accentuating the grapefruit flavour of the Ketel One and offering those lovely herbs, spices and fruitiness,’ says Fraser.
He combines these with a homemade lemon verbena and green tea syrup, a splash of lemon juice for balance and a dash of saline to amplify the myriad flavours.
‘I love lemon verbena, and the fact that you can get citrus from a flower. Being a proud Yorkshireman, I love my tea, especially in cocktails,’ says Fraser. ‘Black tea would be too heavy for a spring drink, so I’ve used green tea, which is over-brewed to bring out those tannic elements – that lovely bitterness adds yet another element to the drink.’
The fizz element is provided by the Bouvet sparkling wine, a well-priced Loire offering produced from Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay, but using the classic champagne method. For a lower-alcohol cocktail, Fraser suggests the latter could be swapped for Real Kombucha Royal Flush, which would take the drink from 14% down to 8.6% abv.
‘This drink definitely fits the brief,’ says Imbibe editorial assistant Kate Malczewski. ‘I love the choice of the green tea and the garnish lifts the fruitiness and boosts the flavour of the vodka.’
‘There’s quite a wine-like structure here, with the acidity, tannins and a little bitterness – even minerality – built in,’ adds Losh, approvingly. ‘It’s certainly proof that warm-weather drinks can have serious ambition as well as real drinkability.’
Garden of Miley
By Alastair Fraser, B&H Buildings
Garnish: Grapefruit twist
Method: Combine ingredients over ice and stir.
Top up with sparkling wine.
40ml Ketel One Botanical Grapefruit & Rose Vodka
15ml Belsazar Rosé Vermouth
30ml homemade lemon verbena and green tea syrup*
10ml lemon juice
Dash of saline (10% solution)
Bouvet Sparkling Wine
*Combine a bag of green tea with 1g of lemon verbena, 50g sugar and 100ml water. Brew for 10 minutes.
Can't get enough of the spritz? Read part one of Imbibe's Spritz Challenge here