Hidden treasures

The origins of the Spritz cocktail

Local Traditions

The origins of the Spritz cocktail

Spritz, the typical Venetian aperitif, has nowadays become the iconic cocktail of Happy hour not only in Italy, but all over the world. But have you ever wondered what its origins are?

There is no certain data on the birth of this fresh and not excessively alcoholic aperitif, but it is believed that its origins can be traced back to the period of Austrian domination in Lombardy and Veneto between the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries when soldiers, traders, diplomats and employees of the Hapsburg empire stationed in Venice, took to diluting the high alcohol level of local wines with sparkling water. In fact, the term ‘spritz’ would seem to derive from the German verb ‘spritzen’ which means ‘to spray’. So, the first Spritz, composed only of water and wine, was very different from what we are used to sipping today. We need have to wait until the beginning of the twentieth century to witness its first evolution thanks to the introduction of the first Seltz siphons for water which replaced the classic sparkling water and the ‘20s and 30’s to find this simple mixture mixed with bitter alcohol of varying alcohol strength. In the early decades of the twentieth century in fact, the two famous bitter liqueur Aperol and Select began to be produced respectively by the Barbieri brothers of Bassano del Grappa and the Venetian Pilla brothers, which, once added to ‘spritzen’, gave rise to the aperitif of the Venetian tradition ... Spritz!

There is no single and widespread recipe for Spritz... just in the Triveneto area you can taste three different types: in Treviso Spritz is mixed with prosecco, in Padua with sparkling wine, in Udine with Tocai Friulano and in Venice with traditional still white wine. In short ... different city, different Spritz... and if you come to Venice you cannot do without a joyful bacaro tour to discover the how Venetian aperitif is prepared with the famous cocktail accompanied by tasty ‘cicchetti’!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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