Have you heard of spritz? It may sound German to you, but it’s actually a cocktail (most likely) invented in Venice. Venice’s traditional drink enjoys widespread popularity and you will enjoy it even more after you know the origins of spritz!
What is Spritz?
Spritz is an alcoholic long drink made up of prosecco (or white wine), a bitter liqueur, and soda water. The International Bartender Association included it in its list in 2011 with the name of “spritz veneziano”. You could play by the book, but it’s more fun to drink spritz the way it’s made by long-standing osterie in Venice make it.
There is no fixed recipe, but most places prepare a spritz with ⅓ of sparkling white wine (if you want prosecco, you should ask for it), ⅓ of bitter liqueur, and ⅓ of soda water.
Types of Spritz
There isn’t just one type of spritz. Depending on the kind of liqueur used, spritz can be any of the following:
- Campari – made from the infusion of bitter herbs, aromatic plants, and fruit – that gives the drink a bitter taste;
- Aperol – made from the infusion in alcohol of orange, herbs (including rhubarb) and roots – sweeter than Campari, Aperol Spritz is a famous drink worldwide;
- Select – a Venetian aperitif whose known ingredients are rhubarb roots and juniper berries – that both add a sugary flavor.
- Bianco – without any liqueur, it is a simple selection of white wine, water, ice and, sometimes, lemon;
- Cynar – which uses a typical Italian bitter liqueur made from artichokes.
You should receive your spritz in an old-fashioned glass (or lowball). However, the unrelenting Aperol advertising campaign shows it served in a stem glass, and many have yielded to this fashion. The average price of spritz is €2.50/3 if enjoyed at the bar, but out of the Veneto region, the price skyrockets up to €5 and more, just like any other cocktail.
Veneto and Spritz
If spritz has strong roots in the Veneto, then why does it have a German name? The Austro-Hungarian troops stationing in the Lombardo-Venetian Kingdom had the habit of watering down the high-proof local wines with a dash of sparkling water or soda water. The name comes from the Austrian verb “spritzen”, which means to splash. The original spritz was just wine and water, so if you want one without any liqueur, you should order a spritz bianco.
Since 2008, the Aperol’s advertising campaign has made the cocktail so popular that other Italian areas and places around the world have adopted the drink. During your stay in Venice, though, you will be guaranteed the traditional drink at a low price due to the high demand.
Where to Find the Best Spritz
Now that you know the origins of Spritz, where should you go to drink one? It is pretty hard to say where the best spritz is served. If you’re looking for a fancy spot, try Harry’s Bar, Lavena, Terrazza Danieli or Florian in or near Piazza San Marco. If you want to stay out of the most touristy areas, a lot of options are available.
Finally, a Prontopia Local will help with all the latest information on where to sip a great spritz: book a connection here. Salute! Or as Venetians say: VIVA!