Book Review - Spritz - Italy's Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail, with Recipes
Spritz is a delightful small format book that covers all you need to know about the world famous drink that was born in Italy. The book can be split into four main sections, history of the spritz, anatomy of a spritz, recipes for making them at home, and some snack recipes to eat along with your drink.
The history section packs a lot of information into a small amount space covering topics such as the introduction of bitter liqueur, soda water and eventually the transition to prosecco. It talks about how the spritz has evolved over time and how it is different in each area of Italy along the spritz trail from Turin to Trieste.
The second section which I call the anatomy of the spritz defines a spritz as a low alcohol, pre dinner drink that is effervescent however the detailed descriptions of the many ingredients available to choose from show how complex a spritz can be. This section starts with a beautiful diagram of a spritz which seems sparse in its appearance but really provides a great visual on how to compose a drink. It then discusses, how to spritz, how to build a spritz bar and detailed descriptions of the aperitivo liqueurs, wine and fortified wines and also the source of bubbles. There are also a handful of sidebars throughout the book that provided extra information on topics such as prosecco and aromatized wines. This section ends with a brief overview of flavored syrups, shrubs and fruit liqueurs.
The recipe section is has a beautiful layout with many full page pictures adjacent to recipes. A nice feature is that under the title of each the glass type and garnish are listed before anything else. The ingredients are listed in the left margin and usually consist of less than five ingredients. The instructions for each drink are brief but effective. The highlight of the recipes for me are the narrative that is included with each. The recipes are provided by some of the most famous bartenders and bars in the world, such as Death + Co, PDT, Nomad, and The Varnish and the narratives discuss some of the inspiration and ideas behind the recipes. Knowing the thought behind each drink provides the reader with a better understanding of how to create their own recipe in the future.
The included photos are beautiful and fit perfectly with the overall styling of the book which has a sort of modern Italian feel that is at the same time paying homage to early Italian design. The pictured glassware makes me jealous on almost every page. In my opinion the most beautiful drinks pictured are the Diamond Spritz Fizz, the Punch House Spritz and the Americano, all of which I will be making soon.
The last section of the book is the food section. I do not feel that this book needs a section like this but it is very well done and acts more like a bonus than an afterthought. We entertain frequently and can always use extra recipes for some pre-dinner snacks.
Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely and imagine that I will be working my way through many of the drink recipes in a short time. From cover to cover everything about this book beautiful, thoughtfully assembled and well designed. I would recommend this book to those new to making cocktails at home as well as season veterans who are interested in increasing their knowledge about the history and modern interpretations of the spritz.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.