This New Bottled Spritz May Kill Your Love for Rosé
Freya Estreller is the founder of Coolhaus, Jelly Shots, and now Spritz, a line of cocktail-esque effervescent wine spritzes that are unlike any other wine beverage on the market right now.
All photos by Javier Cabral
Los Angeles was made for day-drinking at public parks on weekday afternoons.
LA native Freya Estreller of Ludlow Cocktail Co. knows this and she has concocted the absolute perfect beverage for such occasions: Spritz, a line of cocktail-esque effervescent wine spritzes that are unlike any other wine beverage on the market right now. I decide to put her spritzes to the test by meeting up with Estreller at in Mid-City on a Tuesday afternoon to day-drink with her at Pan Pacific Park.
"Meet the rosé killer," Estreller tells me as she hands me a thin plastic cup filled with her grapefruit-elderflower spritz, which is flavored with real cucumber and lemon.
As a dude who loves his triple IPAs and extra-bitter negronis, I take an extremely skeptical sip, and then another much deeper one. With the Southern California sun blasting down upon us and the Santa Ana winds gusting away, this spritz seems like the best beverage on the planet.
Thinking about it, I realize that the flavor revelation isn't too surprising given Estreller's wildly successful past ventures: Coolhaus ice cream sandwiches and an adult-friendly line of Jelly Shots being two of them. Then there's the fact that this spritz is the first of its kind to be made in partnership with and backed by Proprietors LLC, the company that birthed Death & Co. in New York and The Normandie Club in LA.
"This sounds pedestrian, but they just needed to taste good on their own and be versatile in drinks," Devon Tarby of Proprietors LLC tells me very matter-of-factly when I ask how the flavors in the spritzes were developed. "The key to this was just to make sure that they weren't too sweet." She then hands me some enhanced spritzes: the aforementioned grapefruit one spiked with Aperol, and their golden apple-pear-cucumber-mint cider flavor enhanced with the bitter gentian liqueur, Suze. "The spritz category as a whole is something that Proprietors LLC as a company has a great affinity for. We love to enjoy cocktails and not feel totally wrecked by the end of the night," Tarby tells me. We say "cheers" and take a sip of the bitters-enhanced drink.
Estreller and Tarby seem to be onto something big in the American bottled-alcohol world, as non-wine, non-beer, and non-cider boozy beverages are having a moment right now. This category of beverages includes all of the new players like SpikedSeltzer, Crafthouse's bottled cocktails, Not Your Father's alcoholic root beer, Henry's Hard Sodas, and even Hard Frescos, a line of alcoholic Mexican aguas frescas. Estreller and Tarby recognize that this new trend is being fueled by Millennials, but also that it's unfortunately moving towards the sweeter side of beverages, rather than the bitter.
Combatting this trend was one of the reasons why Estreller she decided to create Spritz. (That and being befuddled by the Skinny Girl wine line selling for $100 million.) "With these, we can start to incorporate a little more bitter flavors in the same vein as these new, sweeter drinks." A 750-milliliter bottle of her spritzes, weighing in at 11 percent alcohol by volume, will set you back around $20 retail. This may sound like a lot at first until you realize that you're likely to spend around the same amount for a couple of cocktails at a bar—with propers tips—for just a couple of ounces of similarly flavored boozy liquid.
"I didn't see many Millennial and female-owned alcohol brands. What would happen if we decided to take that on?" Estreller asks.
Her answer to that question is Ludlow Cocktail Co., along with its real fruit-, citrus-, and extract-based Jelly Shots and its brand-new line of Spritzes. For now, the apple and grapefruit flavors are the only two available, but Estreller is patiently waiting for the first batch of the new cinnamon birch tonic flavor to come in from a Lodi-based winery. The spritzes are already available in some LA establishments like Button Mash, the Ace Hotel, and local wine shops, but it will probably be a while until it becomes available in the rest of the US.
Several plastic cups later, I was off into the LA rush-hour traffic abyss, buzzed and glad that took an Uber to the park. My day-drinking mission had been accomplished.