June 19, 2021 by Vicki Denig

Unveiling Our Limited Edition Summer Spritz Cocktail Kit: History, Ingredients, and Simplest Recipe

Although wine is the name of the game here at Argaux, we believe in shaking things up every so often—especially if it involves cocktail creations. Come summer, nothing quenches our thirst quite like an Italian-inspired spritz.

The History of the Spritz

The spritz has a rich history dating back to the 19th century in the Veneto region of Italy. Originally a simple mix of wine and water, it evolved into the iconic cocktail we know today, characterized by its refreshing blend of bitter liqueur, sparkling wine, and a splash of soda. The spritz became a staple of Italian aperitivo hour—a time to unwind with friends and family over light drinks and snacks before dinner.

But, We’re Over Aperol

…and the additives that come with it. So, we needed to find an alternative. After searching far and wide, we discovered the delicious Liquore Delle Sirene aperitif wines. 

The Liquori delle Sirene are a collection of bitters and liqueurs made by the lovely Elisa Carta, a trained sommelier and olive oil taster, and a passionate herbalist. All of her products were born on Lake Garda, and were inspired by its gardens, colors, sunsets, and aromas. Many of the botanicals come from here. The name Sirene is a tribute to one of the most beautiful bays in the lake, Baia delle Sirene (Bay of the Sirens), and its story. Liquori delle Sirene are the fruit of a long and passionate research, and the reworking of old family recipes for Italian liqueurs and elixirs. No chemicals or artificial coloring are used in any of Elisa’s products.

Elisa makes her liqueurs near Lake Garda, using recipes handed down to her that have been in her family for generations. They are artisanal creations made from herbs, flowers, roots and fruit; botanical ingredients that are infused singly in alcohol, then combined to give complex, distinctive aroma and flavor. Most of the botanicals she uses come from around the lake with the exception of some from the Far East that do not grow in Italy but have been traditionally used in Italian liqueurs for centuries, such as Chinese Rhubarb Root. Mount Baldo, on the Verona side of Lake Garda, has been called ‘Hortus Europae,’ the garden of Europe, for its environment and its richness of flora and fauna, and Elisa has made a detailed study of the herbs of this ecosystem. Many of the local botanicals were no longer grown here until just a decade or so ago as much of the population left for big cities and higher wages after the World Wars. A group of young Mount Baldo residents, disenchanted with city life, are staying in the region and have banded together to resurrect the botanical industry that the region was previously famous for. They have replanted fields, are farming organically, hand harvesting, and using proper cutting and drying techniques. The local economy has responded enthusiastically and Elisa is sourcing some of her herbs from them to make her range of bitters and liqueurs.

[Note: At Argaux, we seek out our liqueurs and spirits with the same mentality that we do our wines. Beyond tasting delicious, sustainability is always placed at the forefront of our search, with a strong preference for organic farming and low-intervention production methods.


We’re thrilled to bring back Elisa’s Americano Rosso as the featured aperitivo in our Summer Spritz Kit alongside the 2019 Contratto Metodo Classico Pas Dose Millesimato.

A closer look at the two main ingredients in our Summer Spritz:

Liquore delle Sirene Aperitivo Americano Rosso

A bittersweet aperitivo liqueur made from 23 botanicals, most of them grown near Lake Garda and around the historic city of Verona; others cultivated and shipped from the south of Italy and some, like Chinese rhubarb root, from around the world. Botanicals include olive and lemon tree leaves, linden and acacia flowers, wild rose berries, sweet and bitter orange, absinthe, gentian and ginger. All infusions are done individually, blended according to Elisa’s recipe and then rested for a short time in small oak cask. A light filtration is performed with paper filter to preserve color and aroma. No chemicals or artificial coloring are used.

Sirene Bitter is wildly versatile and works in a wide variety of different cocktails.  Some people enjoy using it as you would the traditional red variety: on the rocks with soda as an aperitivo; in a Negroni or Boulevardier; or it can also be enjoyed as you would an amaro, at the end of a meal as a traditional Italian digestivo. Other good pairings include ginger beer, bergamot, or grapefruit soda.

2019 Contratto Metodo Classico Pas Dose Millesimato

You are drinking history when you pop this cork. This 19th century estate is the birthplace of Metodo Classico and these wines have graced the tables of not only the Vatican, but also the House of Savoy (the Italian Royal Family), as well as the British monarchy throughout history. This is dry, refreshing and incredibly food friendly.

Organic farming practices, hand-harvested, native yeast fermentation, 36 months on the lees, hand-riddled, and around 7,000 cases produced annually. 

How to Make the Perfect Spritz
At Argaux, we like to keep things easy, which is why we use the 3-2-1 method to make the perfect Spritz at home. Simply add three parts of the Contratto, two parts of the Sirene Rosso, and one part sparkling water into a large wine glass with ice cubes, stir, and garnish with the dehydrate citrus included in your kit. Beyond being easy to remember, we truly believe that this quick and easy method makes the best Spritz possible! Balance between sweet and bitter is key here, and the 3-2-1 ratio ensures a flawless cocktail every time. 

Alternative Uses for Liquore delle Sirene

Swap in Liquore delle Sirene for any cocktail creations where you’d normally use Aperol or Campari (or any other Italian bitter aperitivo), splash with some soda water, or simply sip solo on the rocks to truly enjoy the unique flavors of this artisanal aperitif. 


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