The ultimate summer porch cocktail.

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Once sweet, sweet summertime comes to the South, we know one thing: It’s hot as heck, and we need a refreshing beverage. As much as we love a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon and straight Kentucky bourbon, we’re in the mood for something light, iced, and easy-drinking enough to quench our thirst without having us three sheets to the wind by dusk. Hi there, spritzer season. 

Summer Cocktails
Credit: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Spritzers make a super refreshing aperitif to enjoy any happy hour at home, and if you master the easy ratio of ingredients—which can be customized to your heart’s content—you’re set with an infinite menu of house cocktails to make all summer long. It all comes down to three components: booze, fizz, and flair. Which as it goes, are all very easy to have on hand at all times in case the opportunity for a spontaneous spritzer should arise.

Here is the breakdown of the perfect Southern spritzer. Grab a glass, and let’s get going.

First up, choose the booze. A traditional spritzer is usually made with a light white wine, crisp rosé, or bubbly prosecco. In each glass, the ideal ratio is about three parts wine, one part club soda. The easiest rule of thumb is to pour about three to four fingers of your chosen wine in anything other than a short tumbler glass. You need extra space for ice, club soda, and garnishes.

Note: If you’re not into vino, pour just one to two fingers of the liquor of your choice, whether it be vodka, gin, or whiskey. 

Second, bring on the bubbles. While club soda works perfectly fine, we actually prefer using sparkling water such as Texas-made Topo Chico or Arkansas-made Mountain Valley, because we found that each give way more carbonation compared to when we tested flavored sparkling water like La Croix or store-bought club sodas. Other folks prefer ginger ale or Sprite, which give just a touch more flavor if desired. Just make sure anything you use is cold! Once you’ve made your choice, top off the glass with about two fingers of the sparkling mixer of your choice. 

Lastly, jazz it up with garnishes. Think anything like a homemade simple syrup, fresh fruit slices, and sprigs of rosemary or basil leaves. On a simple night, we top a white wine spritzer with a squeeze of lemon and lemon wedge to garnish, along with a sprig of rosemary or lavender if the garden allows. When we’re feeling fancy, we take a few extra minutes to make our Peach Simple Syrup, Basil Simple Syrup, or Lime Simple Syrup to bring major flavor to any spritzer. Most will keep in the refrigerator for up to a month for multiple uses. 

Top off the glass with ice and enjoy a bubbly refresher that drinks almost too easy! 

Hot Tip: If you’re choosing to skip the wine and go with liquor, some simple flavor combinations that always pair well include vodka and lemon; gin and basil; tequila and lime; or whiskey and orange. Feel free to try out different concoctions, and know that vodka will pretty much pair well with anything. So try out that Peach Simple Syrup! Not into partaking? Make a mocktail with extra club soda and garnishes. Everyone can get in on this porch party. 

Nothing like a Southern porch cocktail to close out any hot summer day. Start with a spritzer, sit back, and enjoy.