Spritz it Up: 6 Summer Beverages to Savor in Waterloo Region

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by Andrew Coppolino | May 2024

FWIW, the prognostications in the mixology industry are that the summer of 2024 will find the spritz dropping on a lot of patios and open-air wining-and-dining venues. It’s true that the famous Aperol Spritz “Veneziano” is the flag-bearer beverage and, along with the generic and humble “white wine spritzer,” is generally a drink that doesn’t hit the alcohol too hard. 
An “on-the-patio-spritz-cocktail” is shaping up to play a key role at bars and restaurants this year. The flavour-profile opportunities lends it to lean into a balance of bitter, sweet and fruity but always with the refreshing grounding of tiny bubbles amidst syrups and juices that round out the palate.

Here are 6 great spritz-inspired drinks you can savor in Waterloo Region this summer.

“What Grows Together” Aaron Hatchell, S&V Uptown, Waterloo

Image of female legs from the thigh down, standing beside a red cocktail in a long stemmed glass. The woman is wearing jeans and high heels.
“What Grows Together” spritz (Photo: S&V Uptown)

Hatchell, lead bartender at S&V for three years now, leads our list with a full roster of ingredients for his non-alcoholic “What Grows Together:” Bella Aperitivo (like non-alcoholic Aperol), Novara Aperitivo (like non-alcoholic Campari), eucalyptus-raspberry syrup, Lime La Croix sparkling water, orange bitters and bubbly. You get a clear sense here of how several parts all contribute to make up a unified, delicious and balanced whole. 
The drink hits a lot of high points for Hatchell who is a “Red Coat Apprentice” with Tales of the Cocktail Foundation among numerous other distinctions on his resume. 

“I love this drink is because it gives off the same feeling as drinking an Aperol Spritz, but it contains no alcohol and uses some locally made non-alcoholic aperitif, locally grown eucalyptus and Ontario raspberries,” Hatchell says, drawing on local captures a unique sensory experience that can’t be replicated with mass-produced alternatives.  
He stresses, too, that supporting local supports global. “Sourcing locally supports sustainability by reducing carbon emissions associated with transportation and promoting small-scale farming practices,” says Hatchell. “Ultimately, local ingredients add depth, authenticity and a sense of place to cocktails, elevating the drinking experience while celebrating the richness of the surrounding environment.” 

“White Linen” Sara Snyders, Imperial Market & Eatery, New Hamburg 

It’s suitable that it’s called Imperial’s “White Linen” – an elegant and refined name for an elegant and refined sipper, according to Imperial front-of-house manager Sara Snyders. 
It’s made by shaking together the luscious botanical infusions of Hendricks gin, the fruity-floral St-Germaine Elderflower Liqueur and the snap of lime juice along with simple syrup and a few slices of fresh cucumber that echo the Hendricks.  
“We pour everything into a wine glass and top with soda for a perfect summer spritz for the patio. The cucumber and lime juice make this drink very refreshing, while the elderflower liqueur and simple syrup bring just the right amount of sweetness to the sip,” Snyders says. 

“Summer Spritz” Janine Saunders, Babylon Sisters Bar 

A red coloured beverage in a short stemmed glas. It is sitting on a table outdoors: there are green ferns behind it.
Babylon Sister’s Summer Spritz (Photo: Babylon Sisters Bar)

Located in Uptown Waterloo, Babylon Sisters Bar has been busy putting together their special urban Dominion Lane patio that sits behind King Street. It’s there you will be able to enjoy a non-alcohol “Summer Spritz,” says Janine Saunders, co-owner and general manager of Babylon.  

It’s made with Bark & Bitter Novara Apertivo, based in St. Catherines, Monday Zero Alcohol Gin, the bar’s simple syrup, a topping-up of soda and a finish with a flourish of edible flowers from Florage flower farm in Stratford. Together, simple quality ingredients make for a fine sipper, according to Saunders. 

“This is truly a sensational patio drink,” she says. “It’s light and refreshing, but it gets an incredible vibrancy from the Apertivo. And, of course, the colours of the edible flowers really make this 0% spritz pop.” 

“Lilibet:” Jennifer Tamse, the new Sole in the Charcoal Group  

A white, frothy spritz beverage in a glass, sitting on a table
Lilibet (Photo: Sole Restaurant)

Charcoal Group beverage director Jennifer Tamse invites you to meet one of the new Sole’s signature cocktails: the “Lilibet.” Inspired by a classic spritz, Sole’s version features a frothy twist from egg whites and some pleasant bitter from orange marmalade along with the sparkle of Prosecco. Tamse points out that it’s a low-alcohol beverage and is a headliner in what Sole is calling the “Summer of the Spritz.” 
“We’ve named this cocktail ‘Lilibet’ which doubles as the nickname of the late Queen Elizabeth II at the same time it pays homage to a classic French aperitif Lillet Blanc, a delightful blend of French wines and fruit infusions.” 

Lilibet in the glass and on the patio offers honeyed quinine, candied orange peel, dandelion and passion fruit, and it finishes on the palate with a light acidity, adds Tamse.  
“The addition of lemon juice, orange marmalade, egg whites and Prosecco highlight these existing flavours while offering a bubbly, effervescent finish making it the perfect summer cocktail.” 

“Steal Away:” Mel Baumunk, The Grand Surf Lounge 

An orange beverage garnished with a slice of orange sitting on an outdoor table.
Steal Away (Photo: Grand Surf Lounge)

Bartender Matt Hewson says the Lounge’s “Steal Away” cocktail is “simple, delicate and delicious.” That makes it pretty inviting from this super popular and quirkly-cool nook of a cocktail lounge in downtown Kitchener. 
A combination of Aperol, Galliano, guava, lemon and frothy egg white, the ingredients get topped with Prosecco and garnished with an orange slice to make it the drink, almost, a childhood reminiscence, according to Hewson. 
“It’s like an orange Creamsicle,” he says. “Then the Prosecco makes it dry and refreshing and the few drops of egg white give it a great texture and sets the foam.” 
As an aside – and as an example of Waterloo Region food-and-beverage operations spreading the hospitality word about us in other regions – Baumunk will be showcasing “Steal Away” while doing a guest spotlight at The Relic Lobby Bar in Stratford on June 6.  
(We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that Surf’s big sister, Grand Trunk Lounge, is moving into the larger space of the former Wineology at 87 King Street West in downtown Kitchener this summer.) 

“Countryside Spritz:” Cam Formica, Willibald Farm Distillery and Brewery 

It’s fitting that in the lovely Ayr countryside there should be a lovely Countryside Spritz. Willibald’s bevie features the distiller-brewer’s own pink gin, of course. Triple-distilled and aged up to a year in red wine casks from Niagara, post-aging sees the light-pink gin infused with honey from the farm’s beehives. That makes it a very complex, very local gin, indeed.  
All of that goodness goes into the Spritz which gets a boost from St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur, luscious Cocchi di Torino vermouth and the dozens of botanicals that make up the complex Amaro Montenegro: like the other beverages noted here, the result wins the race for a top-notch summer drink by a country mile.  
The ingredients are shaken, poured onto ice and topped with some soda, says Willibald co-founder Cam Formica, with a garnish of the fruity citrus of an orange twist. 

“The Countryside Spritz is both fruity and floral thanks to the combination of Willibald pink gin and Amaro Montenegro with the Cocchi providing some further complexity,” he says. “The addition of lemon juice to the cocktail brings a soft brightness while simultaneously providing balance. The punch of soda water lends effervescence and cohesiveness. This is a drink we find ourselves reaching for whenever the sun hits our patio.” 


Andrew Coppolino is food columnist with CBC-KW and Metroland newspapers. The author of Farm to Table (Swan Parade Press) and co-author of Cooking with Shakespeare (Greenwood Press), he is the 2022 “Joseph Hoare Gastronomic Writer-in-Residence” at the Stratford Chefs School. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @andrewcoppolino. 


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