Review – Sprizzato Aperitivo Italiano
There is a bit of a trend at the moment towards Italian-style aperitivo culture, and although I’m sure like many trendy topics it will with time become tired, for now at least it is one that I welcome. With big names such as Campari and Aperol being the dominant players in classic such as the Spritz and Negroni, it might seem that launching a similarly-styled new product to the market is a bit of a dangerous game. The team behind Sprizzato haven’t heeded such fear and, in November 2011 it was launched to capitalise on the growing market. Described as a ‘bitter orange and citrus spirit’, it is clearly designed as a classic aperitivo.
Neat: A sweet entry builds in bitterness but only ever reaches moderate levels, with the sugars returning on the finish in true bitter-sweet style. The Aperol-esque conservative abv is apparent in the body which lacks a little depth of character and so it is down to the sweetness to carry much of the flavour. This means that it does lack a little body, but the flavours themselves are a pleasing mix of sweet, fruity, bitter, floral and herbal. A similar profile to the nose is present, with orange, grapefruit, rhubarb all shining against a delicately herbal background. A solid alternative to Aperol for sure; sweeter, slightly more bitter and with a slightly lighter flavour profile, but certainly very enjoyable.
Mixing: As would be expected with a product that is targeting the gap between Aperol and Campari, its best performances are in drinks where these competitor products shine. It is much closer both in booziness and flavour profile (particularly the bittersweet flavour versus overtly bitter) to Aperol, but the enhanced bitterness offers a nod in the direction of Campari. Substituted for Campari in the Negroni therefore, the resulting drink is pleasurably light, lending itself to lighter and more floral gins. Sprizzato doesn’t for example stand up to the heavy hitting gins with a heavily earthy or juniper-dominant profile. Unsurprisingly, gin is a particularly favourite partner for this aperitivo, with drinks such as the Petruchio Cocktail bringing out a decidedly summery strawberry note. There is little to fault in other Aperol classics such as the Spritz, but it doesn’t always make a good replacement for Campari. In the Dolce Havana for example the orange notes are far too prominent and the Sprizzato offers neither the necessary bitterness or depth of flavour to ensure balance. Although designed to fill a gap between Aperol and Campari, it is at the former’s end of the spectrum that this aperitivo performs best, illustrating why the two may not be considered always interchangeable. The signature Flippato shows that this aperitivo need not always be reserved for the safe classics, this is an excellent product.
Signature Cocktail – Flippato
75ml Sprizzato, 10ml Sugar Syrup, 1 Egg Yolk
Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with grated nutmeg
Sprizzato Aperitivo Italiano is an excellent alternative to Aperol. Being slightly sweeter but also slightly more bitter, it offers a unique taste profile but generally makes for a successful alternative in all classic Aperol cocktails. Rating: ★★★★
Sprizzato Aperitivo Italiano is available to buy from The Whisky Exchange.
★: Terrible, only drink for a dare.
★★: Meh, not undrinkable but best left alone.
★★★: Reasonable, middle of the road.
★★★★: Tasty stuff, well worth seeking out.
★★★★★: Incredible, booze doesn’t get better than this. You need a bottle in your life.