What if you could take your favorite afternoon appertif and give it a little more oomph with America’s native spirit? That’s what I’m suggesting with this Bitter Bourbon Spritz.
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Every spritz has its origins in a bitter amaro. In this case, I selected Campari because of the color, and because I was thinking of the lovely taste of negronis this afternoon. But put over ice with seltzer or soda, the spritz loses its appeal quickly for me.
If I don’t sip it steadily, the ice in the cocktail dilutes it far too much, and far too quickly. It leaves me with a watered down cocktail. One that no longer has that solid bitterness of the amaro shining through, and tastes far to weakly of alcohol
How to Make a Better Spritz with Bourbon
If you’ve been on my blog for a while you know I’m a huge bourbon and whiskey fan. In my house, we have a saying, “Bourbon makes everything better.” Most days it does.
In this case, adding bourbon to the cocktail does two things. It increases the alcohol content, packing the spritz with more fire. It also slows down how quickly it gets watered down. This leaves the bourbon flavor (and the alcohol-punch) noticeable for much longer than with Campari alone.
In addition, I wanted to layer a less-citrusy, more earthy amaro into the cocktail. I chose Foro amaro to do that. It’s got lovely coffee and chocolate overtones that meld wonderfully with both the bourbon and the Campari – giving the cocktail more depth.
Top the Spritz
Traditionally a spritz is topped with sparkling wine, but since we’re already increasing the ABV with the addition of the bourbon, I decided to leave off adding prosecco.
However, you could use any flavored seltzer that fits with the citrusy notes of the Campari. Something with lemon or grapefruit would be wonderful. Avoid mixers with too much sugar – you want the sweetness of the amarii to shine through as they dilute over the ice. Too much added sugar will throw off that balance.
Other Spritz-like Cocktails to Try
If you enjoy highball and spritz-type cocktails, check out some of the following cocktails:
Or you might enjoy this Campari Old Fashioned.
Bitter Bourbon Spritz
- 1 oz bourbon
- ½ oz Campari
- ½ oz Foro amaro or other high quality amaro
- Seltzer water
- Garnish: orange peel and mint sprig
- Combine bourbon and Campari in the bottom of a wine glass, stir briefly, fill with ice, top with soda and gently layer the Foro amaro on top. Garnish with an orange peel and a mint sprig.