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Classic Italian Aperol Spritz Recipe

When it comes to cocktails and aperitifs, the Aperol spritz is one of the first recipes jumping off people’s minds. The classic Italian Aperol spritz recipe is one of the most requested by people looking for a refreshing drink to accompany their bits and nibs.

The spritz cocktail rhymes with Italy and La Dolce Vita: it doesn’t matter where you are, because as soon as you start drinking a spritz, you will immediately feel in Italy.

For us, Italians living abroad, the spritz represents home, and that’s why we’re so passionate about it: we try a spritz cocktail everywhere we go, we have a list of places where it is delicious, and places where it’s just meh.

We are demanding when it comes to the Classic Italian Spritz Recipe, and that’s why we want to share with you the traditional recipe of this spritz as we make in Italy.

Where was spritz invented?

The origins of this cocktail are really unknown and finding the real ones is not so easy. It is sure that it was originally born in the Veneto region, and today it’s Veneto’s signature cocktail.

The term spritz seems to derive from the Austrian spritzen, which means “to spray,” and for transitive properties, it can be seen as the act of adding sparkling water. The soldiers passing by in the Veneto region couldn’t stand the wine from Veneto and started to dilute it with sparkling water.

The spritz as we know it today was born around 1920 – 1930 in the Veneto region, during the official presentation of Aperol drink at the Padua fair in 1919. In short, Venice and Padua are competing for this recipe.

The inhabitants of the so-called Triveneto region claim that the real one is prepared by mixing white wine and sparkling water because the aim has always been, with the spritz, to prevent those who spend too much time at the bar getting drunk; Aperol was apparently added later and it is no coincidence that still today it is customary to ask for a smooth spritz even if the “exported” and known everywhere is the red one with Aperol.

Today there are different versions of the Aperol spritz and the diatribe is always open, just like it happens for carbonara pasta: there are those who use Campari, those who use Aperol, those who mix wine and sparkling water but in all cases, the result is always guaranteed even if the classic recipe is based on Aperol.

What is in a spritz?

The recipe of the spritz calls for Prosecco, Aperol, and sparkling water. It’s served over ice in a wine glass or lowball glass with an orange wedge garnish. To follow the original recipe and obtain a traditional Italian spritz cocktail, you don’t have to change the order of the ingredients when making it. If you do so, the final result will change. Aperol is heavier than prosecco or white wine, so if you mix it immediately with the other ingredients, it deposits on the bottom, and it does not return the flavor or the color.

So, when making your classic Italian spritz recipe at home, follow the recipe without altering it both in terms of ingredients and in regards to how the elements get mixed.

Here’s the traditional Italian recipe of the Aperol Spritz: after the recipe, advice, tips, and some useful information for a perfect spritz.

Ingredients for 1 Serving/Glass

  • 2 parts of Aperol
  • 3 parts of prosecco
  • 1 splash of Sparkling water
  • Ice
  • Slice of orange

Instructions

  1. Start by adding ice to the glass then pour in the Prosecco, the Aperol, and the sparkling water.
  2. Top with a slice of orange.
  3. Stir and serve.

notes

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 0 minutes

Total time: 5 minutes

Traditional Italian Spritz: tips and advice

  • This spritz must always be prepared in a wine glass or a lowball glass because these glasses allow the ingredients to mix correctly and not to evaporate so that the flavor will stay there for a long time.
  • This cocktail should never be shaken but only mixed with a spoon or a straw directly in the glass;
  • Orange serves only as a garnish; the juice should never be squeezed into the cocktail;
  • You should never make your spritz in advance because the ice would melt, and the flavor of the cocktail will be lost forever.

Why is Aperol Spritz so popular?

The Aperol spritz is so popular because it is refreshing, easy to make, and summery. It also allows people to travel to Italy, without actually going there. Also, the Aperol spritz recipe offers a slice of 1950s Italian lifestyle, and who doesn’t love it?

Spritz Variations to the Original Recipe

Being a classic recipe, the spritz has given birth to many different variations that are more or less linked to a specific area of the country. What changes is the bitter liquor that is used and that can be the Campari, the Select, or the Cynar.

  • You will have a Cynar Spritz if you will use Cynar instead of Aperol: use ⅓ Cynar, ⅓ prosecco, ⅓ sparkling water, lemon, and ice to create probably the most known variation to the classic Spritz.
  • Use Campari to make a Campari spritz: in this case, use the same proportions as in the recipe with Aperol, and you won’t go wrong.
  • Spritz Select is made with Select liquor, and according to people from Venice, this is the only Spritz possible: use ⅓ Select, ⅓ prosecco, ⅓ sparkling water, lemon, and ice.

Lately, a new variation has been added that is now trendy, especially in the Northern Part of Italy, the Trentino Alto Adige region, where it was born: the Hugo cocktail. Instead of adding a different liquor to the mix, you need to add elderflower syrup. The recipe for the Hugo cocktail is made by mixing Prosecco, elderflower syrup, sparkling water, a few mint leaves, a slice of lime, and ice. As you can see, this cocktail has been called a variation of the traditional spritz, but it’s much more similar to a mojito (still, it’s delicious!)

What’s the difference between Campari and Aperol?

The most significant debate in making a spritz is whether you should use Campari or Aperol. Considering that Aperol is what the traditional recipe requires, nowadays, Campari is also an option, and nobody will give you a hard time if you choose Campari over Aperol.

Aperol is sweeter than Campari and contains hints of bitter orange plus gentian and cinchona flowers. Campari, however, is more bitter and contains rhubarb, berries, and a floral bouquet of potent and mysterious herbs.

They also have a different alcohol content: Aperol is 11% ABV, while Campari ranges from 20.5% to 28.5% ABV.

Campari has a more prominent flavor, and your spritz will change a lot if you choose to use it.

What’s Cynar?

Cynar is considered a “digestive,” and in the Eighties, it was also considered an almost-medicinal Italian after-dinner drink. The reason is simple: it’s made by mixing 13 herbs and has artichokes as its main ingredient. It’s a bitter liquor, and the spritz you’ll get by using it will be a bit bitter and more robust in terms of alcohol.

What is Select?

Select is probably the less known among all the liquors we have mentioned: once again, it’s red, and this makes it a lot confusing. But it has a distinctive taste, it’s a bit bitter than Aperol, and it presents notes of vanilla, cardamom, and ginger root in a 14% ABV package. It’s produced in Venice, where in the 1920s, it was first splashed into the OVS (Original Venetian Spritz).

Aperol Spritz Shopping List

Here’s a list of things you may need to make your Aperol Spritz at home.

Aperol: Bright orange in color, it has a unique taste, and it’s the main ingredient for a perfect Italian spritz. Available at Amazon.

Red Wine Glasses: Red wine glasses are perfect to perfectly hold a well-made spritz. They also allow it to decant without losing flavor. Available at Amazon.

White Wine Glasses: You can also use white wine glasses for your spritz, to give a bit more hair to it and taste it at its best. Available at Amazon.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means that we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.

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About the author
Veruska Anconitano
Veruska is a freelance content marketer and digital strategist. She's an accredited journalist, a member of the British Guild of Travel Writer, and a certified sommelier. She's the co-owner of TheFoodellers and a bunch of other websites.
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