[1] A refreshing white wine spritzer with cucumber and mint. The recipe is below (photo © Wine Institute).

[2] Different ways to slice a cucumber. For this recipe, you want the long, wide slices in the center (photo © Quinciple).

[3] Fresh mint (photo © Indian Home Cooking | Clarkson Potter).


It’s a beautiful summer day—not hot, not humid, just sunny blue skies.

We’ll be spending much of the day outdoors with a good book—and cool drinks.

Iced tea is good for starters, but we try a different cocktail or two every weekend. This weekend it’s a Cucumber Herb Spritzer from Discover California Wines.

Spritzers are an ideal warm-weather drink: low in alcohol with a refreshing effervescence.

We first began to drink wine spritzers in college, because they have the least amount of alcohol of any alcoholic drink; and we could drink several without any “influence.”

The classic spritzer recipe is 3 ounces of an aromatic white wine*, plus 1 ounce of club soda/soda water/sparkling water.

Instead of that 3:1 proportion, we often use a 1:1 proportion when we’re planning to have more than one spritzer. It has just 5%-6% alcohol.

A typical spritzer garnish is a twist of lemon or orange, and even a dash of bitters. But that’s as elaborate as we got.

Until today, when we tried the following recipe: cucumber and herbs instead of citrus peel and bitters.

Here’s the history of the wine spritzer.

Chill the wine and sparkling water in advance.

If you like, you can make a mocktail version using plain or flavored sparkling water.

Ingredients Per Drink

  • 3 mint leaves
  • 2 large basil leaves
  • Half lime, juiced
  • 6 ounces aromatic white wine, such as Albarino, Gewürztraminer, Muscat/Moscato, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier
  • 3 wide cucumber strips
  • 3-4 ounces plain or lime-flavored sparkling water
  • Ice
  • Garnish: lime wheel, mint leaf, basil leaf

    1. USE a vegetable peeler to slice a cucumber vertically (see center of photo #2).

    2. TEAR the mint and basil leaves into large pieces and add them to the bottom of a wineglass or tumbler.

    3. ADD the juice of half a lime and use a spoon to stir, muddling the mixture a bit to release the flavor of the herbs.

    4. ADD ice to the glass, then the white wine. Tuck the cucumber strips throughout the mixture and stir gently to combine.

    5. TOP with sparkling water, then add the lime wheel and more mint and basil as garnish.
    > The Difference Between Club Soda & Sparkling Water


    *An aromatic white wine is a varietal that is defined by dominant floral aromas. These are caused by a special aroma compound found naturally in the particular grape used to make the wine. California aromatic wines include Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. Some aromatic varietals and their aromas include the following; seeWine Folly for the full list.
    > Albariño and Loureiro: lime blossom, lemon, grapefruit and melon
    > Gewürztraminer: lychee, rose, pink grapefruit and tangerine
    > Muscat Blanc (Moscato): orange blossom, Mandarin orange, pear and Meyer lemon
    > Müller-Thurgau: rose Water, white peach, geranium and pear
    > Riesling: jasmine, lime, honey and green apple
    > Sauvignon Blanc: passion fruit and guava (California aromas; aroma varies by location)

    > Viognier: peach, tangerine and honeysuckle

    THE NIBBLE Blog – Adventures In The World Of Fine Food

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