The Summery Hungarian Spritzer That Only Requires 2 Ingredients

Some cocktail recipes call for half a dozen elements and complex processes that can feel daunting, particularly in summer when we all want to work a little less hard at everything. This is why fröccs — a tipple that requires only two ingredients — is a welcome addition to any warm-weather beverage toolbox.

Parts of Hungary are famously hot in summer, and one of the best ways to beat the heat and simultaneously enjoy the country's famous wines is in the form of fröccs (pronounced "frurtch"). This prototypical wine-and-fizzy-water drink may seem familiar to fans of an Aperol Spritz, but it is even more straightforward. The recipe here requires nothing more than wine and sparkling water — it doesn't even call for ice cubes or garnishes.

Fröccs isn't new; in fact, it's a drink with quite a long history as part of Hungarian culture in the warmer months. But if it's new to you, you might soon find space for it on your cocktail menu in any season.

Enjoying fröccs at home

Though it originated in Hungary, don't have to travel to Budapest to enjoy a refreshing fröccs. You can make this in a snap from any location by combining a Hungarian wine like the white olaszrizling or a rosé like kékfrankos with sparkling water. And while it may be fun to travel with Hungarian wine, you can easily find substitutes for these varietals — just aim for lighter, crisp, less oaky, or sweet options (and don't worry; proponents of this practice suggest your wine will be enhanced, not ruined, by the addition of a little bubbly water).

This drink is also open to interpretation in terms of ratio, as there isn't a standard. Different designations in Hungary exist to describe how strong or diluted you want your fröccs, which can depend on your mood. For example, your wine-to-water ratio will determine whether you are a "Mayor" or a "Landlord." So start with a splash of seltzer and adjust from there.

For your dinner party purposes, if you're going for a Hungarian theme, you can serve a one-pot goulash or sheet pan chicken paprikash with potatoes. Both of these benefit from the fizzy lift of sparkling water in your wine (as will a sweet treat like a Hungarian nut roll). 

The culture and history of fröccs

Fröccs may not seem like the wine spritzer would have any relation to electric model cars, but in fact, it was a Benedictine monk named Ányos Jedlik who made contributions to both of these important cultural creations. It was around the mid-19th century when Jedlik discovered a way to capture sparkling water in a bottle. When he decided to show off his new process (using a siphon) to some friends at a dinner party, he grabbed his wine and sprayed a bit of the bubbly liquid into the glass — and a beloved new drink was born.

The Austrian-German term "spritzer" loosely translates to "sparkling water," but one of Jedlik's distinguished guests preferred to tie this new invention more closely to its creator's national identity, suggesting "fröccs" — a reference to the Hungarian fröccsen or "to splash."

Given that it was allegedly created during a dinner party, it seems fitting that Jedlik's legacy is tied to what has become an integral part of Hungarian gathering customs. Today, you'll find fröccs is common in many settings, be it a restaurant or bar, an outdoor market, or a casual picnic. The beauty of this bubbly drink is its adaptability, and fröccs is on theme for any summery celebration.