Rose's extreme approachability and lack of pushback make it all too easy to drink. We all know that long afternoons spent carelessly downing the highly quaffable wine as if it were a low-alcohol treat (it's not--most roses are about 10.5% alcohol, same as many whites) can lead you into the haze of the Pink Fog. But Dante, in New York's Greenwich Village, is breathing new life into summer's boozy bestie with its bar's expansive spritzer menu, superpowered by the rose on tap. "There's a variety of benefits," says bar manager Naren Young, explaining the appeal of rose spritzers. "When it's hot, your rose will get warm in 10 minutes. With the addition of ice and soda, you can sit outside and just smash it. You could drink 10 of them and not feel like you'll lose your whole night--or next morning--because of it."
Young suggests personalizing your spritzer with a bar spoon of rose syrup (such as from Mymoune or Monin) or elderflower syrup. "There can be a bit of acid in some spritzers, and the sweetness offsets that." Meanwhile, an array of other little touches can make the drink sing. Preparing ice cubes with a little strawberry or rhubarb syrup or watermelon juice beforehand will give it an uplifting flair, as the ice slowly melts and releases the fruit into the drink. A spritz of orange blossom water or rose water from an atomizer on top of a spritzer can set it off nicely. A pinch of Maldon salt can be a nice flourish, especially if sprinkled over a tray of spritzers at a party. And adding a small amount of an aperitif--Lillet Rose, Cocchi Americano Rosa, Campari, or Aperol --is a certified way to sex up any spritzer.
As far as the profile of the rose, Young recommends something that isn't sweet and that has ample enough body to stand up to both the ice and the soda. "If you get something too insipid," he says, "the whole thing would be void of character."
Roses are in high demand at the Silverlake Wine shops in Los Angeles, and in the perpetually buzzy back garden of their sister spot, Everson Royce Bar, where co-owner Randy Clement says they go through "several metric tons" a week of the stuff. There, spritzers are made with sparkling rose, a neat trick that amps up the bubble factor. Says Clement, "We typically choose a French sparkling rose that has a perfect fruit-acid balance--with enough bubble force to be measured on the Richter scale."
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Rose spritzers for the home bar
Dante Classic Rose Spritzer
Courtesy of Dante, New York City
3 oz. rose
2 oz. sparkling water
Mix in a highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with a lemon wheel.
Courtesy of Dante, New York City
1.5 oz. Lillet Rose
0.5 oz. Elyx vodka
0.5 oz. salted strawberry and rhubarb cordial
0.25 oz. lemon juice
5 drops of rhubarb bitters
1.5 oz. watermelon juice
Shake ingredients and strain into a highball glass over fresh ice. Top with sparkling rose. Garnish with three watermelon radish wheels.
For a large batch of strawberry and rhubarb syrup: In a medium-size pot, add 2,000 g (4.4 lb.) of white sugar and 2,000 g of hot water. Add 400 g (14 oz.) of chopped strawberries and three stalks of finely chopped rhubarb. Bring to a low boil and add 50 g (1.75 oz.) of Maldon salt. Once it's cooled, add 6 oz. of Absolut 100. Strain.