About 10 years ago we spent a few months with my husband in the north of Italy, around the city of Padova. It was at this time that the Spritz became one of our favorite aperitifs. This cocktail is very popular among students who gather in the evenings on the Piazza Frutti e Piazza Erbe (the market place) of Padova. Nowadays this cocktail is not only popular in northern Italy but all the way down to Sicily and in recent years has become one of the coolest, most popular drinks all around Europe.
This time I am not going to mention nutritional benefits of my recipe (hm), but let’s take a little history tour instead! The origins of this drink date back to the 19th century when the Austrian Empire, in its territorial quests, had its eyes on the Veneto region. The Austrian soldiers found the region’s wines too dry and strong, so they asked the waiters to dilute the local white wines with some soda water. This is the origin of the word « spritzen » (spray in German). The soldiers’ spritz was a mixture of white wine and soda water and it was only later in the 20th century when bitter liquors made from citrus fruits appeared that the Venetian bartenders added a touch of if to make their cocktail taste better.
In the Triste region the Spritz made of white (or red) wine and sparkling water is still very popular. Also in those countries of Central and Eastern Europe which were at one time under the hegemony of the Austrian empire the white Spritz remains a very common drink especially in summertime. But this deserves a blog post of its own since I could talk a lot about the Hungarian fröccs which has different names depending on the proportion of its ingredients.
The color of the Aperol Spritz reminds me of the sun setting – this is an ideal cocktail to start the weekend in this gorgeous summer weather. You will find different versions of this drink with varying ingredient proportions, glass shapes and garnishes. In fact, the Venetian bartenders preciously keep their own recipes. Here is my recipe tested by my friends and family:
- 1 part Aperol
- 2 parts dry Prosecco (sparkling white wine)
- 1 splash of soda water or sparkling mineral water
- ice (always use large ice cubes, never crushed ice)
- 1 slice of orange
- a pinch of relaxation
In a wine glass or rocks glass pour the Aperol, the Prosecco and the sparkling water on ice and mix. Garnish with a slice of orange.