Imbibe's Spritz Challenge: Callooh Callay

Miranda Fitzgerald

13 June 2019

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 third instalment of our four-part series, Miranda Fitzgerald shares the sparkling secrets of Callooh Callay

Next up, it’s the altogether more urban environs of Callooh Callay, down a side street in Shoreditch. So it’s no surprise to the Imbibe team that our starting ingredient is a bit different: bar manager Will Hawes’ spritz gets a Japanese twist, with Mio Sparkling Saké.

‘Using Mio instead of sparkling wine definitely helps because it’s less dry and a lot sweeter – you need a decent sugar content [in a spritz] or it can fall a bit flat,’ he explains. ‘It has very delicate flavours and the bubbles aren’t as harsh, so you have to be careful not to overpower it.’

Will Hawes topping up his drink with Mio
Will Hawes topping up his drink with Mio

To balance the sweetness of the saké, Hawes keeps things Japan-centric with 15ml of yuzushu, a yuzu liqueur. He adds vodka to provide a bit of body and booziness without dominating the drink, while his honey and orange water syrup rounds off the flavour profile and teases out the floral notes in the saké.

Rather than amp up the sharpness of the yuzushu with a zest, Hawes garnishes the drink with an attractive edible flower for colour contrast.

‘Spritz is a drinks category that’s growing, along with low-abv and that summer style of drinking,’ says Hawes.

‘It’s definitely a session drink, so it needs to be light and approachable, rather than too complex or heavy.’

His drink certainly meets these criteria, with the yuzu offering an exotic-yet-approachable source of acidity, and the saké lending a delicate-yet-distinct froth. One Imbiber describes it as a ‘party girl’s spritz’, while other terms bandied around include ‘smashable’ and ‘quaffable’.

‘You get that lovely, rounded flavour from the Mio and that texture carries through the drink,’ says Losh, who suggests it’d be a good upgrade for prosecco lovers who want something leftfield that isn’t too challenging or alcoholic. The cocktail sits at around 20% abv, but it’s suggested that, without the vodka, it would be more like 8%.

‘This offers big yuzu flavours with a hint of orange blossom,’ says Malczewski. ‘It’d be a great seasonal transition drink.’ 

Haru Spritz
By Will Hawes, Callooh Callay

Glass: Wine
Garnish: Edible flower
Method: Combine ingredients over ice. Quick shake and strain into glass. Top up with Mio and add ice.

25ml vodka
15ml yuzushu liqueur
15ml orange flower and
honey syrup*
100ml Mio Sparkling Saké

*Syrup made with honey, water and orange flower water.

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