A Spritz Veneziano, also known as an Aperol spritz, is a wine-based cocktail generally consumed in Northeast Italy. The drink is prepared using prosecco, digestive bitters, and sparkling mineral water (typically club soda). It is commonly served as an aperitif, a drink that helps with the stimulation of one’s appetite prior to a meal.
Spritz veneziano is sweet, citrusy and bubbly with a little bit of a bitter taste to it, and is light and refreshing. It is often accompanied by ice in a wine or rocks glass and then topped with a slice of orange, or occasionally an olive, depending on the liqueur.
There are several variations including spritz bianco (white spritz), spritz al campari, istrian aperol spritz and italicus spritz. This Italian drink became widely known outside the country in 2018 and Aperol Spritz was recognised as the world’s ninth bestselling cocktail in 2019 by Drinks International.
Origin & Cultural Significance
Spritz is believed to have originated during the period of Habsburg control in Veneto in the 1800s. It was under the Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia. The soldiers, several merchants, diplomats and employees of the Habsburg Empire are said to have become accustomed to consuming local wine in the taverns.
However, they were not acquainted with the extensive variety of wines that belonged to the area. Also, the quantity of alcohol was higher than they were used to. The newcomers later asked the local hosts to add (spritzen, in German) a little bit of water into the wine so it makes the wine lighter. The original spritz, however, was prepared using sparkling white wine or red wine diluted with fresh water.
In the 1920s and 1930s, in Venice or in Padua, Spritz was mixed with local bitters (generally consumed with soda and ice). Aperol was invented in Padua in 1919 and in Select in Venice in 1920.
The actual recipe had apparently continued to remain untouched for a long time. It was later in the 1970s that the current Spritz recipe came into the picture, with prosecco substituting still wine.
Over the years the beverage has “grown up” with a plethora of imaginable accompaniments, such as a type of liquor or a bitter. For example, the China Martini or Cynar with a lemon peel inside.
Italian Spritz Veneziano Recipe
- Aperol – 4 tbsp
- Prosecco (or other sparkling wine) – 6 tbsp
- Sparkling water – 2 tbsp
- Ice cubes
- Orange slices or skewer with green olives (to garnish)
- Begin by taking a large old-fashioned glass or tumbler and adding the ice to it.
- Next, pour in the aperol.
- It’s time to add the Prosecco and top the drink off with sparkling wine.
- Finish by adding some orange slices as garnish. Optionally, you can also use a skewer with green olives, and voila! Your spritz veneziano is ready to be served!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 273Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 50mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 3gSugar: 33gProtein: 1g