Lambrusco is a sparkling red wine from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Use it in place of prosecco in a classic spritz with complementing flavors of aperol and orange. It is a refreshing and gorgeous drink that is easy to batch for a crowd. The perfect spritz for the holiday season!
We all know and love an aperol spritz in the summertime—a refreshing summer drink made of the bitter aperol, sweet prosecco, and club soda. Change it up for the winter with a Lambrusco Spritz! A simple riff on the aperol spritz.
Lambrusco is a sparkling red wine that is traditionally served chilled. It is from the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy, where the most notable city is Bologna. I was lucky enough to visit this past summer and fell in love with the food of the city, and lambrusco. It is the perfect wine for those who don't normally like red wine. It takes red wine and adds everything I love: bubbles, a subtle sweetness, and it's served cold.
This lambrusco spritz takes the classic spritz formula and replaces the prosecco with lambrusco wine. The base is aperol, orange juice, lambrusco, plus I like to top it with a flavored sparkling water such as orange, lemon, or lime. A garnish of cranberries and an orange wheel gives a festive look.
This lambrusco is impressive yet super easy to batch for your next holiday party. It is sure to put you into the holiday spirit during Thanksgiving and Christmas!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- A refreshing drink. This lambrusco spritz would be a delicious Christmas cocktail.
- Non-red wine fans will like it! Trust me, I don't like typical red wine.
- Slightly sweeter than a typical spritz due to the orange juice and lambrusco. If you normally think a spritz is too bitter, you'll like this!
- Gorgeous holiday look with its deep red color.
- Perfect for the holidays. This drink would be a hit at Thanksgiving or Christmas with its seasonal ingredients and fresh orange taste.
- Uses common bar ingredients.
- Made in 3 minutes. Just stir and enjoy!
- Easy to batch by stirring in a pitcher.
- This recipe is naturally gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free and vegan.
Here are all the ingredients you'll need to make this lambrusco spritz:
- Aperol liquor: You could also use Campari, another bitter aperitivo.
- Orange juice: If you can find blood orange juice, it's extra delicious.
- Lambrusco: A sparkling red wine from the Bologna region of Italy that is traditionally served chilled. Find it in the sparkling section at the liquor store typically.
- Club soda: Orange or lemon flavored sparkling water is my top pick.
- Garnish: Orange slice, fresh or frozen cranberries.
There are several ways to change up this cocktail. Here are some substitution suggestions:
- Change the spirit. Campari would be the closest thing to aperol. If you really don't like aperol, you could swap it for vodka, tequila, whiskey, bourbon, gin, or your favorite spirit. A classic Italian swap would be the addition of amaro montenegro, another Italian digestif, or luxardo cherry liqueur. Any way, you'll still have a delicious sparkling bevvy.
- Change the juice. Cranberry juice, sour grapefruit juice, or pomegranate juice would be delicious. You could also add a few dashes of orange bitters.
- Adjust sweetness. I don't include any simple syrup in this recipe because it is not typical in a traditional aperol spritz. If you like your drinks sweeter, add some simple syrup, maple syrup, or honey.
- Of course you could use prosecco or another sparkling wine, though it wouldn't be a lambrusco spritz.
Be sure to read the recipe card below for the full recipe.
(1) Add a few ice cubes to a large wine glass. Pour in the aperol and orange juice.
(2) Pour a few ounces of freshly opened lambrusco.
(3) Add a splash of club soda or orange flavored sparkling water to top the glass.
(4) Stir lightly with a long spoon. Adjust the taste to your preference.
(5)Garnish with a slice of orange, orange peel twist, and fresh or frozen cranberries. Enjoy responsibly!
What to Serve with a Lambrusco Spritz
This lambrusco spritz is the perfect winter aperitivo and festive cocktail. While it can really be had at any time, it is especially designed to be consumed before eating a large meal to prime the stomach. Enjoy during the winter season with all your friends and family at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Here are some of my holiday faves to pair with it:
- Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookies
- Matcha Shortbread Cookies
- White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
- Gluten-Free & Vegan Oreo Truffles
- Slice-and-Bake Sugar Cookies
- Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Millionaire Shortbread
- White Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
Check out more Christmas recipes!
This cocktail recipe is best served and consumed fresh after preparing. If you're preparing ahead of time, stir together the aperol and orange juice. Then refrigerate. Add the lambrusco and soda just before serving to preserve the bubbles.
1 750ml bottle of lambrusco can make 4-6 spritz drinks. To use the whole bottle, add 4-6oz of aperol and 4-6 oz of orange juice to a pitcher. Add a whole bottle of lambrusco and half a can (200ml) of sparkling water. Gently stir. Add ice and garnish to individual glasses. Pour over the ice and enjoy.
Here are some of my top tips and tricks for a delicious spritz:
- If you can get your hands on blood orange juice, I find it to be a delicious addition to the drink. Of course regular orange juice will still be great.
- Store your alcohol and juices in the fridge for an extra cold drink.
- You could make a spritz by replacing the aperol with any liquor. Vodka, gin, tequila, whiskey would all be great. Change up the juice for a different flavor too!
- Open the lambrusco just before serving so it is chilled and sparkling.
- See the above section about batching and proportions for using the whole bottle of lambrusco.
- Use a flavored soda water instead of club soda for even more subtle flavor. I like to use orange, lemon, or lime sparkling water.
- Stir the spritz with ice for some dilution.
- Garnish with what you have. My favorites are an orange wedge and some cranberries.
- Enjoy before or with a large holiday meal on Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Frequently Asked Questions
Lambrusco is a sparkling red wine that is traditionally served chilled. They have a few varieties at the LCBO in Ontario, in the sparkling section. Check your local liquor store or Italian market, like Eataly.
Yes, most distilled alcohols are in fact gluten-free and safe for celiacs due to the distillation process. Aperol is made from orange peel, herbs, and other ingredients that are generally considered gluten free.
Campari would be the closest thing to aperol. If you don't like aperol, you could swap it for vodka, tequila, whiskey, bourbon, gin, or your favorite spirit. You'll still have a delicious sparkling beverage.
A lambrusco spritz is the perfect cocktail for a holiday party. Whether it's Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any occasion—this twist on a classic spritz is sure to be enjoyed. Treat your guests (or yourself!) to something new and delicious with your new house spritz.
Have you made this lambrusco spritz? I'd very much appreciate it if you leave a 5 star rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and review below, and tag me on instagram @fromoliviaskitchen!
- 1 oz aperol or campari
- 1 oz orange juice If you can find it, use blood orange juice
- 5 oz lambrusco wine
- 1 oz sparkling water or for extra sweetness, blood orange flavored San Pellegrino
- Slice of orange
- Add a few ice cubes to a large wine glass. Pour in the aperol and orange juice.
- Pour a few ounces of freshly opened lambrusco. Add a splash of club soda or orange flavored sparkling water to top the glass. Stir lightly with a long spoon. Adjust the taste to your preference.
- Garnish with an orange slice, orange peel twist, and fresh or frozen cranberries. Enjoy responsibly!
- Is this drink gluten free? Most distilled alcohols are considered gluten free.
- Flavor: Instead of club soda, I like to use orange flavored sparkling water, or a blood orange San Pellegrino for extra sweetness.
- Make ahead: This cocktail recipe is best served and consumed fresh after preparing. If you're preparing ahead of time, stir together the aperol and orange juice. Then refrigerate. Add the lambrusco and soda just before serving to preserve the bubbles.
- Batching: 1 750ml bottle of lambrusco can make 4-6 spritz drinks. To use the whole bottle, add 4-6oz of aperol and 4-6 oz of orange juice to a pitcher. Add a whole bottle of lambrusco and half a can (200ml) of sparkling water. Gently stir. Add ice and garnish to individual glasses. Pour over the ice and enjoy.