Add a spritz of sunshine to your drinks list

WARM weather is never a given in Scotland at any time of year, but even if the sun barely cracks through the clouds this summer, the changing of the seasons is still likely to influence some customers’ drinks choices – and the spritz is predicted to be one of the most popular choices in bars and pubs. 

Originally a long drink mixing sparkling wine with a bitter liqueur and topped with soda water, the serve has evolved over the years and now appears on menus in a range of different guises, using gin or vodka in place of the traditional liqueur. 

Alex Haslam, head of category development for the on-trade at Diageo GB, said the spritz serve is now one of the top ten ‘mainstream cocktails’ in the UK, “so there is ample opportunity here for operators to reap the benefits of the spritz trend”. 

That was echoed by Adam Walsh at English craft distiller Ellers Farm Distillery, who said as the temperature rises “consumers look to indulge in fruity and floral, lighter drinks as they are more refreshing, yet still full of flavour”. 

“Spritzes in particular are very popular throughout the summer months, with over 77% of consumers choosing them at least occasionally.”

The spritz trend has been growing steadily in Scotland over the past several years, according to independent operator Signature Group. 

The company, which operates 24 venues across Scotland, said its customers always tend to switch to lighter serves during the summer months, and the spritz has been a particular favourite across its venues – and that’s especially true of women over the age of 25. 

For those longer days in the sun, I can see why people would opt for a lighter serve. 

The company’s business development manager, Hannah McConnachie, said: “As a result of Signature Group’s identification of the growing trend in spritz serves during spring and summer, this year a selection of our 24 venues have decided to experiment with lesser-known brands for ‘Spritzing Season’ to bring a refreshing and educational take to the serve. 

“For those longer days sitting in the sun, I can see why drinkers would swap out their heavier spirits for a serve that’s lighter in alcohol, refreshing and lasts longer.” 

The company is switching up its spritz serves across its estate, with variations including the Lillet Spritz, El Bandarra Spritz and the Darnley’s Sharing Spritz. 

Obviously not every customer will opt for a spritz when looking for a long spirits serve, though, with Walsh at Ellers Farm predicting an upturn in iced or slush cocktails. 

And a spokesman for Glasgow Distillery reckoned longer spirit serves including whisky highballs could also be in fashion. 

“The classic summer cocktails are always a safe bet during the warmer months, such as the mojito or spritz,” they said. “However, a favourite of ours this summer is going to be the whisky highball. We’re mixing ours with our Malt Riot Blended Malt Scotch Whisky.

“The rich vanilla, soft floral character and slight spicy finish from the whisky works perfectly when combined with a good quality ginger ale, over ice.”

Regardless of whether it’s a summer spritz or refreshing highball, Haslam at Diageo said that quality will be essential for spirits serves. 

“Typically, 46% of consumers say it is worth paying more for quality drinks in the on-trade,” he said. 

“When it comes to ingredients within cocktails, it is worth thinking about which liquids form the base of popular, high-quality serves in order to engage customers.”