Summertime Wine

St. Germain Pitcher Spritzer

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glasses of pitcher spritzer on a bamboo tray
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

This light, effervescent spritzer loaded with lemon, cucumber, and mint might look a bit like spa water, but I promise it’s anything but. Bubbly from sparkling wine and floral from St. Germain elderflower liqueur, it’s a summer spritzer that’s elegant and gorgeous enough for bridal showers, but also easy enough to make for a weeknight happy hour. Here’s everything you need to know.

The Perfect Pitcher Spritzer

What Is a Pitcher Spritzer?

The original spritzer cocktail was just equal parts white wine and soda water, but its popularity as an aperitif (or pre-dinner drink) has taken off, especially with the classic Italian Aperol spritz. Instead of slightly bitter Aperol, I’ve subbed in St. Germain elderflower liqueur.

A pitcher spritzer is simply a big-batch version of a single spritzer cocktail. It’s perfect for hosting because you don’t have to make individual drinks: Simply mix everything up in the pitcher you’ll pour (and refill) out of, then relax with your guests.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

The Best 5-Ingredient Summer Spritzer

With these five ingredients on hand, you can whip up a refreshing drink anytime you please.

  1. St. Germain: St. Germain is sweet and floral in a lovely but not cloying way. It’s an investment worth making for your bar cart, as it plays well both gin and vodka. It’s so popular now that you can even spot it at Target if yours sells alcohol.
  2. Dry sparkling wine or prosecco. A bottle of sparkling wine or prosecco adds delicate bubbles and crisp flavor. Just make sure it’s well-chilled beforehand so the cocktail doesn’t dilute too much once it’s poured onto ice.
  3. Cucumber slices: Cucumber slices are refreshing and beautiful — especially when shaved into long ribbons that are coiled up in each individual glass. I like using a vegetable peeler to make the ribbons, especially a Y-shaped one. Shave the cucumber until you get to the watery, softer center, then stop and start shaving again from the other side.
  4. Lemon: Adding a squeeze of lemon juice makes the St. Germain tastes especially delicious. You’ll also add lemon slices to both the pitcher and individual glasses.
  5. Fresh mint: Finishing the spritzer with fresh mint sprigs balances things out with herbal notes, and adds a pretty pop of green.
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

Serving Your Pitcher Spritzer

Instead of adding ice directly to the pitcher, add it to individual glasses so that the base mixture doesn’t get watered down. As for the pitcher itself, you’ll need a small one that holds about 1 1/2 quarts, but you can double or even triple the recipe if you have a larger pitcher or an especially thirsty crowd to serve. Let the summer spritzing begin!

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St. Germain Pitcher Spritzer

A light, delicate and refreshing pitcher spritzer with sparkling wine, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, cucumber, and lemon.

YieldServes 6, Makes about 4 cups

Prep time 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2

    medium English cucumber

  • 2

    medium lemons

  • 1 (750-ml) bottle

    cold dry sparkling wine, such as prosecco

  • 1 cup

    St. Germain elderflower liqueur

  • 4

    small fresh mint sprigs, plus more for garnish

  • Ice

Instructions

  1. Using a vegetable peeler, shave 1/2 medium English cucumber into about 18 wide, thin ribbons. Stop shaving when you get to the more watery section in the middle, then continue shaving from the opposite side to get enough ribbons. Reserve enough ribbons to garnish each individual glass, then place the remaining in a small pitcher that holds around 6 cups.

  2. Cut 1 medium lemon into thin rounds. Reserve enough rounds to garnish each individual glass, then add the remaining to the pitcher. Juice the remaining lemon until you have 1 ounce juice (2 tablespoons).

  3. Add the lemon juice, 1 bottle sparkling wine, and 1 cup St. Germain to the pitcher. Smack 4 small mint sprigs between your palms, add to the pitcher, and stir to combine.

  4. To serve, press a reserved cucumber ribbon against the inside of an old-fashioned glass. Fill the glass with ice and top with a reserved lemon slice. Pour in the spritzer and garnish each glass with a small mint sprig.

Christine Gallary

Food Editor-at-Large

Christine graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France, and she has worked at Cook's Illustrated and CHOW.com. She lives in San Francisco and loves teaching cooking classes. Follow her latest culinary escapades on Instagram.

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