9 super refreshing spritzes to sip on this summer in Shanghai

From classics with Aperol to fruity twists, here’s where to drink the iconic Italian aperitif in Shanghai

Photograph: Rupert Hohwieler (Kartel)
Born in northern Italy many moons ago, the spritz has since spread its wings to take over summers all around the world – evidently so in Shanghai when come June you’ll see glasses of the orange-hued cocktail being clinked together on almost every patio, terrace and rooftop in town. Whether you like to keep your spritzes classic – mixed with Aperol, sparkling wine and soda water – or if you prefer to branch out with more nuanced versions, here’s the best places to sip on them in the city.

Classics

Aperol Spritz, RAC

Aperol Spritz, RAC

The first order of business at RAC is always to find a seat (preferably in the courtyard, no simple task) and once you’ve successfully managed that, the next thing to do is settle down with pre-dinner drink. The incredible list of natural wines might be your go-to, but this time turn your temptations towards the spritz. It follows the straightforward Aperol and prosecco formula (though sometimes they mix it up with a French crémant) in a lowball glass with a slice of orange. 65RMB.

Superspritz, Funkadeli

Superspritz, Funkadeli

If a drinking bucket list exists somewhere in Shanghai folklore, a marathon spritz session at Funkadeli would surely be on it – the bar is synonymous with the bubbly cocktail. Pick your poison between Aperol and Campari fused with prosecco DOC and soda water then garnished with an olive and orange peel. If you’re feeling extra… funky, upgrade to a Funkaspritz with a shot of vodka and gin. The result is a heady aperitif that’ll not only whet your appetite, but also leave you ready for a night out (with both locations neighbouring popular late-night haunts). 65RMB; 75RMB (Funkaspritz).

Aperol Spritz, Kartel

Aperol Spritz, Kartel

Though sprawling views of Jingan and Old Xuhui take precedence on visits to Kartel’s rooftop, it’s the spritz that you should be sipping on when admiring them. There’s no deviation from the traditional Italian take here (Aperol, soda water and sparkling wine), it’s simple, exceedingly summery and goes down easily. More difficult is nabbing a table on the terrace, especially during happy hour (6-8pm daily) when the drink is 35RMB. 50RMB.

Aperol Spritz, Mercado 505

Aperol Spritz, Mercado 505

Sure, those quaint coastal towns in the south of Spain may be a million miles away, but when you’re knocking back sturdy spritzes on the patio of this lively Spanish grocer, who really cares to tell the difference? Here, cava replaces prosecco for dryer taste, shaken well with Aperol and poured in a big ol’ balloon glass so you’re guaranteed to feel a giddy after a few. When hunger hits, make sure to soak them up with the deli's killer selection of meats and cheeses. 70RMB.

Aperol Spritz, The Fellas

Aperol Spritz, The Fellas

Bundside rooftop The Fellas possesses all the hallmarks of a great spritz spot, and not just because it’s a classy Italian bar (though that certainly helps). It’s just the signature spritz you’ll be nursing here with Aperol, soda water and prosecco, but this tipple is all about the view – it's one of Shanghai's best vantage points for admiring the Lujiazui lights. Bring a group and graze on the range of pizzas coming out of the kitchen – you’ll definitely need food to nibble on when you inevitably prolong your stay. 98RMB.

Twists

Strawberry Spritz, La Baracca

Strawberry Spritz, La Baracca

Once a stronghold for streetside drinking, Yongkang Lu’s buzzing Italian osteria channels the spirit of the neighbourhood’s raucous past. Specialising in the spritz, the bar has 16 variations on the menu and Campari and Aperol posters adorn the walls. Though the ginger and lime spritz is the venue’s most popular combo, strawberry merits a mention too. The addition of strawberry syrup to the Aperol, prosecco and soda water lineup gives it an extra fruity finish. 50RMB.

Cynar Spritz, Bird and Bitter

Cynar Spritz, Bird and Bitter

While the patio at Bird and the terrace at Bitter are both well-suited for hot summer evenings, the experience is made even better with one of the four spritzes the duo recently rolled out nestled in your hand. All designed by Campari Ambassador Phoebe Han, the Cin Cin and Pink Lady’s (both 68RMB) lighter notes make for pleasant sips, but if you’re in the mood for something more complex go for the Cynar-based creation. The bitter’s herbal profile mixed with prosecco and soda gives the drink a darker, funkier undertone. 78RMB.

Watermelon Spritz, Sober Company

Watermelon Spritz, Sober Company

Sober Company usually heads the city’s conversation when it comes to top-notch cocktails, though not enough is said about its ultra-refreshing riff on the spritz. It’s a thirst-quenching drink that’s just as easy on the lips as it is the eye. Fresh watermelon juice is stirred with the Aperol and prosecco, spruced up with cassis shrub and finished with a splash of soda water to balance that fine line between being overly sweet or sour. It’s also garnished with a watermelon radish as a cheeky nod to what’s inside. 75RMB.

Passion Spritz, Union Trading Company

Passion Spritz, Union Trading Company

This tropical twist on the spritz at Union Trading Company is the sort of drink you’d want to bottle up and take with you on your next summer holiday. It’s hella refreshing with vacation vibes flowing from its passion fruit base, while the cocktail’s other components like thyme cordial, Aperol and elderflower tonic water lend floral (and fizzy) elements to its flavour. 98RMB.

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