When I was growing up in wine, there was nothing, and I mean nothing, more debased than the dreaded white wine spritzer. It was the quaff of the weak. Usually white wine with a squirt of soda water, sometimes garnished, sometimes not. I literally never consumed one — until I reached my mid-forties.
And there you have it. A wine spritzer is really a cocktail, but it's a cocktail that you can only really embrace as you age. Okay, sure, younger folks can take to the spritzers. Sure. But the point is that you don't want to be drinking Manhattans and Martinis in middle age, not all that often anyway. But you still like a nice cool drink with a tiny bit of a kick. Presto! Spritzer.
The key to a good spritzer, especially now that the cool weather is giving way to the warm, is to treat it like something to be mixed — a cocktail, not merely a handful of ice, half a glass of white wine (or red), and several splashes of soda.
You can be as simple or as complex as you like on the front. I prefer to move a scooch past simple, but stop well before complex. So I use a rocks glass (although a highball glass if fine), a lot of cubed ice, some pretty el cheapo white or red wine, and lemon or lime (lemon for white, lime for red). I squeeze in about a tablespoon of lime or lemon juice over the ice. Then the wine. Then the soda, freshly carbonated and very, very fizzy (I recommend the SodaStream system, but Canada Dry is cool). If you want to add a kick, some bitters or a dose of Campari can be nice.
You can also do your own improvs. Add some grapefruit juice. Some vodka. Work in some mint. The sky's the limit. Just remember that the objective is to quench the thirst, not disorient the mind.
Stir. Sit back. Relax and be refreshed. Enjoy. And be proud that at long last, finally, you have grown up enough to be a spritzer man.