A good cocktail doesn’t need to be complicated. Context is king, and this is the season for splashing liqueur into a glass full of ice, topping it with sparkling wine, and calling it an afternoon.
On a recent lazy day in the sunshine of Eat Street, we ducked into Icehouse where bar manager Whitney Evans combines two of her favorite liqueurs into their new happy hour special, the Rosolio Spritz. She matches a pear liqueur with a fairly new one to the Twin Cities called Italicus. “It’s flavored with rose petals, but also bergamot, which is the really citrusy component in Earl Grey tea,” she explains, clanking a few large ice cubes into the bowl of a wine glass.
Her spritz is crystal clear, with big fat bubbles from the prosecco clinging to the ice. The rose petals might seem perfunctory, but the salt in the brine adds a mouthwatering quality to the spritz. (Here’s how I made them at home: Over medium heat, dissolve big pinches of sugar and salt in a half cup of Champagne vinegar, or other white wine vinegar, and a half cup of water. Cool the brine and steep a handful of dried rose petals for a few minutes before serving.)
This drink is crisp and lively, and, after sipping and squinting and dabbing the beads from our foreheads, we order another in no time flat. If you don’t have Italicus, you can substitute your favorite liqueurs into the spritz formula with abandon (see: Spirits Close-Up: The Summer Spritz). Just match something bitter with something sweet, and you have the perfect drink for the patio days of summer.
¾ ounce Mathilde Poire
½ ounce Italicus
3–4 ounces prosecco
Add the liqueurs to a large wine glass over a few ice cubes and top with prosecco. Garnish with pickled rose petals and a spear of pear slices.
Find more recipes for delicious cocktails in our Craft Cocktails archive.