One of the thing I miss here in London is the lack of the “Aperitivo”. In Italy this is an extremely common habit, from the North to the South, and you can always find people sitting outside the bar while having a cocktail before dinner. That cocktail, usually matched with some savoury snacks, it’s a refreshing drink, not too alcoholic, and it’s part of our food culture.
Today I am going to talk about one of the best (and famous) Italian aperitivo: the “venetian” spritz, using Aperol as liquor. We can simply call it Aperol Spritz.
It is extremely easy to make, but we must pay attention to a couple of things. By the way: did I just say that Aperol Spritz is meant to be drank before dinner? Let me rephrase it: it’s good at any time!
History of the Spritz
During the Austrian domination of the 19th century, the Austrian soldiers discovered Italian wines, specifically from Veneto area. These wines, apparently, were too strong for their sensitive taste. Therefore, adding a splash of water to the northern Italian wines became quite common (spritzen, in German, means splash).
Around the year 1920, someone tried to mix the spritz with a bitter drink. Two versions were the most famous: the one with Aperol, in Padua area, and the one with Select, in the Venetian area. The version with Aperol became so famous that it has been included in the IBA (International Bartenders Association) with the title of “Venetian Spritz”.
How to make an Italian Aperol Spritz or Venetian Spritz
Aperol recipe is not known, but we do know that it’s a bitterish drink with some essence of orange and rhubarb. It’s sweeter than the Campari.
The official Aperol Spritz recipe is based on 3 ingredients:
- Prosecco: 6cl (2 oz)
- Aperol: 4cl (1 1/4 oz)
- Soda: a splash
That’s it! The most important thing is to keep the ratio between the ingredients, and as you can clearly read on the official website we have 3 parts of Prosecco, 2 parts of Aperol and 1 splash of Soda. Traditionally, especially in Veneto area, an olive is added too.
Having said that, it’s up to you to adjust the recipe according to your taste. Personally, I prefer a bit more of Aperol because I like its bitterness and its flavour.
Since we are not bartenders under pressure on a Saturday night, we have time to make things slowly and in the right way. Here is a first differentiator: put the ice cubes in the glass to make it colder, and stir it.
In our recipe, as a great bartender recommended, Ice goes at the very end to avoid a slight watering effect.
Remove the ice cubes and the water, and pour the Aperol. I usually don’t measure, as I have in mind the proportion I like the most. After the Aperol, pour the Prosecco (cold) and finally add a splash of Soda. If you don’t have soda you can also use sparkling water: it will be fine.
Now, let’s add the ice cubes and garnish with a slice of Orange.
The Aperol Spritz, or Venetian Spritz, is ready to go!
Be careful: there are many variations of the spritz; you can mix it with Aperol but also with Campari, Select, Cynar… if you order it, always specify your preferred liquor.
Italian Aperol Spritz
- Prep time: 5 min
- Yield: serves 1
- Tips: only use large cubes of ice, never crushed ice. Serve it on a tumbler or on a large glass for wine (straw is optional)
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