Ever since the Italians first combined prosecco, bittersweet liqueur and sparkling water over ice, the spritz has been the perfect transition drink: a sparkling little ride from work to play, day to dusk, afternoon to dinner, meh to happy. And it's fitting for a drink that transports you to better places to be as portable as possible. Of late, this classic aperitivo and all sorts of effervescent variations have been pre-mixed and poured into their equivalent of a little black dress: handy cans and bottles perfect for early-autumn picnics, effortlessly chill-able and Esky-ready. Some makers swap in regional sparkling wines, introduce spirits and vermouth to the party, or play with alternative bitter liqueurs that take the drink far beyond its orange origins. Winemakers with handy-sized spritzes include Brown Brothers, Pizzini and McLaren Vale's Riot Wine Co, where grenache-loving winemaker Tom O'Donnell has added botanicals and bubbles to his rosé, available only in cans. And there's the all-Aussie SOFI Spritz range, with prettily canned fizzy combos of local wines, juices and herbs.
Aperol Spritz Ready to Serve, $15.95 (3 x 175ml bottles)
The Italian original is now available in handy bottles. Just pop the ring-pull lid and pour over ice to turn your picnic blanket into a magic carpet ride straight to the Italian Riviera.
Palomita, Everleigh Bottling Co., $44 (4 x 170ml bottles)
From the Melbourne-based Everleigh Bottling Co.'s new Spritzed Cocktails range, Palomita is a party-loving bottled riff on the Mexican classic Paloma cocktail; a tequila-spiked grapefruit soda with a splash of sparkling wine and a sprinkle of salt.
Brix Spiced Blood Orange spritz, $28 (4 x 330ml cans)
Launching this week, the latest spritz in a range of three from Sydney rum makers Brix Distillers is a bubbly blend of vanilla, cinnamon, grapefruit with blood orange juice and Brix cane spirit.