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Put a spritz in your step and enjoy Melbourne’s spin on Italy’s favourite summer cocktail.
For a classic Italian Aperol Spritz, enter the buzz of Brunetti Flinders Lane. Try to avert your eyes from the counters laden with cakes and pastries, and head straight to the Campari Bar. Brunetti has a dozen spritz flavours to choose from. Originally dubbed the Spritz Veneziano, this bouncy orange apéritif is summer holidays in a glass. If orange isn’t your colour, try the violet spritz for a touch of purple. Or the signature amarena cherry Brunetti spritz. Time your visit for aperitivo hour to nab complimentary cicchetti, and score $10 Campari or Aperol spritzes every night of the week.
Yes, there are spritzes to sip if you can tear yourself away from the ping-pong and shuffleboards at Ballers. Try the Kir Royal, with crème de cassis and fresh berries. Or the Pampelle, with botanicals-infused grapefruit liqueur. You can be sure the surprises will continue when you head back to your VR booth to battle aliens and pirates.
Ombra means shadow to most Italians, but to Venetians and Guy Grossi it means apéritif. At Ombra, the headlines are cured meats, or salumi, and cicchetti. Pair your perfect Aperol Spritz with an equally perfect Margherita pizza. Or try morsels like eggplant fritti, sardines and calamari. Wood-lined and low lit, Ombra’s style and atmosphere add the finishing touches to this Italian experience.
To soak up the Yarra views, head to Riverland Bar at Federation Wharf. The urban beer garden is a Melbourne oasis, with tables in the shade of Princes Bridge. Primed with prosecco and soda, the bitter orange hit of a traditional Aperol Spritz is hard to beat. But Riverland’s Davidson Plum Spritz is a beauty, putting a local spin on the Italian classic. Tartness comes from the deep purple fruit of native plums, with gin and prosecco as backup. It’s a win-win, especially paired with a plateful of aioli-drizzled fries.
The Mess Hall
The vibe is Northern Italian at the Mess Hall, so it’s no wonder they’ve mastered the art of the spritz. Sure they serve the traditional Aperol Spritz. But what about their menu of summer spritzes? Garnished with mint and lime, they refresh with flavours like pink grapefruit and gin. Or try Aperol’s kissing cousin, the Americano. The rosy red cocktail blends Campari, vermouth and soda. Swap the soda for gin, and voilà, you have a Negroni.
The taste of Italy continues over in Kensington at Rick’s Place. Head up to the rooftop bar for a trad Aperol spritz, the star of this local favourite’s long drinks list. Seafood is the other speciality at Rick’s, along with chocolate-stuffed Italian doughnuts. Order a selection and sit back to drink in those views of Melbourne’s twinkling skyline.
To really get into the spirit of summer, clink glasses in a poolside cabana at the Arbory Afloat Beach House. The floating pop-up bar has six cocktails on tap and half a dozen spritzes to choose from. Make it a Four Pillars Pink Gin spritz, tartly sweet with grapefruit. Pair with fried zucchini flowers with tzatziki, or one of Arbory’s nine pizzas. Keep it Italian with the funghi, topped with truffled cheese and rocket.
Chic Embla is another cosy woodsy wine bar oozing European charm. The natural wine list and flame-grilled menu jostle for your attention. But Embla’s cocktails are no shrinking violets. Order a Rondo Spritz, featuring organic rhubarb aperitivo. Then head upstairs for post-sunset movies under the stars in the rooftop bar.
Heartattack and Vine
Italian-style Heartattack and Vine is the neighbourhood bar we wish we all had. From 7am coffee to late-night cicchetti, it’s an all-day favourite. Visit at dusk for a traditional Aperol Spritz, or add briny green olives for a Dirty Spritz. Daily-changing tapas source the season’s best produce in the likes of crostini, squid and meatballs.
The sun is over the yardarm, so it’s time for a late-afternoon spritz at Massi. Pull up a seat at the marble bar, under the gaze of Massi’s signature Fornasetti prints. The fare is Sicilian, with appetisers like sangria-cured fish with finger limes. Plump green olives and salty fries always go well with the refreshing blitz of a spritz. As does a serve of Massi’s natural oysters, with blood plum and rose.
Please drink responsibly.
Last updated on Fri 22 Jan 2021
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