Aug 25, 2009

Spritz!

Cocktails, sunsets and laughter
In Veneto, drinking Spritz is not only aperitivo, it's more of an appointment. Gathering for a Spritz is an opportunity to meet, chat, gossip and laugh in good company. Spritz is a lifestyle. And an excellent excuse to go hang out in the bar at sundown, when everybody looks pretty.
Image source Spritzlandia

Spritz is a simple drink, whose roots date back to the Austrian occupation of northeastern Italy; Austrian incumbents of the Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia regions regarded wine as too strong a drink and in an attempt to lighten it, diluted it with water. The battling local Veneto folk, in order to restore some vivacity back to the beverage, responded by adding liquor to the new Hapsburgic solution. That’s how Spritz was first invented and how it got its Austrian name, which roughly translates to injection/addition.

Image copyright Nan McElroy

The orange-hued alcoholic beverage native to lagunar lands - but now commonly enjoyed all over northern Italy, including the regions of Emilia Romagna and Lombardia - is commonly also named Spriss, Spriz or Sprisseto. I have worked and lived some portions of my professional life on the road in northern Italy and I have compiled a Spritz Tour Catalog of choice bars and cafes where I have enjoyed the best Spritz in Italy. Among them Padova's consolidated Spritz shrine in Piazza delle Erbe and the Padova Ghetto; or Campo Santa Margherita in Venice; Porta San Tommaso in Treviso; the area around Piazza Matteotti in Udine; Piazza delle Erbe in Verona; Piazza dei Signori in Vicenza; the lighthouse beach and numerous cafes along Via Bafile in Jesolo Lido; the gorgeous Piazza Unità d'Italia in Trieste; at the Bar Roma in San Donà di Piave; Piazza Libertà in Bassano del Grappa; Piazza Giorgione in Castelfranco Veneto; beneath the Loggia dei Grani in Montebelluna; Asolo's Caffè Centrale; in the chic locales that dot Corso Italia in Cortina d'Ampezzo; Piazza Cima in Conegliano Veneto. Or in my beloved Chioggia, where traditionally Spritz is enjoyed in osterie along the snaking canals, paired with spit roasted fish called "scòta deo", which means 'finger-burning'.


There is no unambiguous composition for Spritz, rather city variations on the local barman's own whim. A common denominator in the varieties offered is however the presence of dry white wine and sparkling water or seltzer/club soda, whose quantities have to at least be 40% to 30%; the remaining 30% can be completed by a myriad of alcoholic alternatives; granted their mixture maintain the drink's signature bright orange color. Alcoholic grading is therefore variable, but should not exceed 15°. Here's how I like to make my Spritz.
40% dry white wine
30% soda water
30% Aperol

Some make Spritz with Campari instead of Aperol, a bit too bitter for my happy hour palate. I prefer classic Aperol, which gives the drink a sweeter yet peppery taste. This brand produces a new popular ready-made mix called Aperol Spritz.

But I rather like to make it myself and serve it on the rocks with an orange wedge, accompanied by frittata squares, fried polpette meatballs, artichoke heels, polenta sticks, and other tapas-like goodies.

I love cocktail hour, don't you?



Salute!

Aperol on Foodista

27 comments:

  1. Love cocktail hour? Certo! I happened to be enjoying a mix of Campari, Vermouth, and a tropical blend fruit juice on the rocks while reading about the Spritzes. Lovely to share a drink here with you; it's such a civilized way to round out the day.
    Salute!

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  2. I'm in. You can pick the place. Of course it will take me a while to get there from Canada.

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  3. Lovely post! I have to admit my favorite part of living in Verona is having our nightly spritz in piazza erbe. It's the best way to beat the heat (after gelato of course) in the summer!

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  4. Saretta&Louciao~ Salute! (hiccup)

    LoriE~ lovely new thumbnail!

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  5. i love any reason to get together, chat and share life...seems thte essence of spritz..."injection/addition"... life is so much better together, no?

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  6. Jessica & Brian~ so true! ...clink!

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  7. Oh indeed I do love cocktail hour! And those nibbles look scrumptious too. I'll leave a note for the kids and be right over!!

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  8. I am a big fan of Happy Hour, it is lovely way to top off a day. I cannot wait to try Spritz, I am going to make it this weekend!

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  9. Salute. Pull a chair and pass the drinks. Yummy. I hope you're all settled back and life is normal again.

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  10. I love a good Srpitz! We make it by the pitcher some evenings for friends in the neighborhood.
    dana

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  11. They call it aperos here in France as well. I'll think of you Friday evening - my cousin who lives in Paris is coming to stay for the weekend. Just next to her is a lovely Italian deli and she is bringing us some goodies including bottles of Limoncello and Presecco.

    I'll tell her about your blog

    x

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  12. Indeed I do! I can't think of anything better than joining you (and those delicious tapas) for a Happy Hour spent in that golden light...someday!

    what an amazing post! (again) ☺

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  13. Each one of your postings is a jolt, Lola! I always feel an imperative need to eat whatever you show, or in this case have a lovely cool glass of Aperol Spritz, cheers and cin-cin!

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  14. Yes, yes, si, oui as everyone has said. I'll log off as it is close to cocktail hour here in Washington, DC. Thanks for the reminder. Will be using some recipes on your blog for a cocktail party I'm going to give in late September.

    ciao-meow, Lola!

    xo

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  15. Ciao bella! Ah yes, though I am currently sitting in France, this takes me back to my Italian days! We lived in Padova for 2 years and the Piazza dell' Erbe remains one of my favourite hang outs. Stunning. Have also probably also raised a glass in 'Salute' in nearly all the wonderful places you mention. Ah yes, happy days indeed! Cin cin!

    Oh yes, and my husband used to do the accounts for Aperol!

    Have you tried a Milanese 'Negroni'? Silly question, of course you have!

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  16. The history is interesting, I have never try one and will one day, Grazie, :)

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  17. Looks yummy. I wonder where I can get aperol here in the states. Would upscale liquor stores have it?

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  18. It sounds great! I'm always learning something new here :)

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  19. Living in Texas this sounds like a great afternoon drink. The summer has really been rough this year. I'm going to stir up a batch of Spritz for my husband and I this evening. Thanks Kathy.

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  20. I love Spritz, funny to think that it used to be sooooo Veneto and maybe a little backward...and now it is all over Italy, fancy and fashionable.

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  21. Oh yes darlin and like they say here in the south, "Cheers, it's five o'clock somewhere." You have a great site.
    Happy Twirls

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  22. Like everyone who works with food professionally I am always dieting. I am so sick of giving things up I have lately been making cocktails again. While I'd rather a Bellini than a Spritz, I am not that fussy. I reckon every alcoholic eventually gets thin before he dies, why not me too?

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  23. Great article. Thank you for this information! I love so much Spritz!

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  24. It will be a pity to be in Venice and not to try Aperol Spritz.

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