With spring upon us, the longer days and (usually) warmer weather call for daydrinking—preferably al fresco. The best cocktail for such an endeavor? The often overlooked Spritz. The fact that it’s simple and low-proof means it’s not a go-to for those who want to get their drink on. But for those who just want to hang out many, many hours sipping while snacking, the low-ABV cocktail (a usual mix of prosecco wine and a bitter liqueur like Aperol or Campari) is perfect. Just ask the Italians who essentially invented aperitivo hour, that wonderful moment of the day after work when you meet up with friends for light drinks and bites. It’s known as happy hour in the U.S.
And where are the best places to get your Spritz on in L.A.? We asked Talia Baiocchi (author of the James Beard-nominated Sherry, and Punch editor-in-chief) and Leslie Pariseau (former deputy editor of Punch) whose new book Spritz: Italy’s Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail, with Recipes demonstrates how to live the Spritz Life, and well.
The Normandie Club: “The reigning king of the spritz format, Alex Day of Proprietors LLC. almost always finds a way to integrate its blueprint into a cocktail menu, sometimes under cover, but often with blazing gusto. At Normandie, you’re most certain to find one on tap and by the bottle, rotating by season.”
Upstairs at Ace Hotel DTLA: “Dan Sabo, the don of the downtown hotel cocktail scene, knows how to spritz. His infinite creativity is always balanced with an intuition for crowd pleasing, and it’s his cocktails that make Ace Hotel so much more than just a rooftop full of pretty people (L.A. has plenty of those already). Unfailingly, he always has a bubbly, low-ABV option that makes golden hour that much more golden.”
Bestia: “Buzzy, brassy and splashy, Bestia is what happens when California and Milan make a love child. Not only are the cocktails here modern and impeccable, they’re highly reflective of what can happen when you marry seasonal California produce with traditional Italian ingredients. In other words, everything. We love the Aperol This Time.”
Terroni: “A little slice of Northern Italy in LA, Terroni has married the ideal version of aperitivo with California’s endless summer. Here you can find well-made spritz classics alongside beautiful bites—nearly Venetian style cicchetti—and a crowd of people just out of work looking for some social lubricant. The house spritz, the Aperol Betty, is tops.”
You can join Baiocchi and Pariseau, who are partnering up with Aperol, next week at their Spritz happenings all over the city, like an aperitivo hour at Terroni, poolside aperitivo at the Ace Hotel and a spritz crawl. Bonus is that for every ticket sold, they’ll donate $1 to Water for People.