Spritz (alcoholic beverage)
|Primary alcohol by volume|
|Served||On the rocks; poured over ice|
|Standard drinkware||Old Fashioned glass|
|Commonly used ingredients|
|Preparation||Stir into glass over ice, garnish and serve.|
The Spritz (German: "splash" / "sparkling", also called Spritz Veneziano or just Veneziano) is a wine-based cocktail commonly served as an aperitif in Northeast Italy. The drink is prepared with prosecco wine, a dash of some bitter liqueur such as Aperol, Campari, Cynar, or, especially in Venice, with Select. The glass is then topped off with sparkling mineral water. It is usually served over ice in a lowball glass (or sometimes a martini glass or wine glass) and garnished a slice of orange, or sometimes an olive, depending on the liqueur. Another variation of the drink uses champagne with the liqueur rather than prosecco. The drink originated in Venice while it was part of the Austrian Empire, and is based on the Austrian Spritzer, a combination of equal parts white wine and soda water; another idea is that the name of the drink would be linked to that of a typical Austrian wine in the region of the Wachau.
Spritz was born during the period of the Hapsburg domination in Veneto (Italy) in the 1800s. The soldiers, but also the various merchants, diplomats and employees of the Habsburg Empire in Veneto became quickly accustomed to drinking local drinking wine in the taverns, but they were not familiar with the wide variety of wines from the Veneto, and the alcohol content, higher than that of the wines to which they were accustomed, was also a novelty. The newcomers started to ask to the local hosts to spray a bit of water into the wine (spritzen, in German) to make the wines lighter; the real original Spritz was, in fact, strictly composed of sparkling white wine or red wine diluted with fresh water. The first evolution of Spritz arrived in the early 1900s, when the siphons for Seltz water became widely available: Seltz (also called soda), by definition, is very carbonated water that goes very well in cocktails. Thanks to Seltz, which came from the German town of Selters, home of a mineral water rich in carbon dioxide, it was possible to make a sparkling Spritz using still wine. This development introduced the Spritz to new types of customers, such as Austrian noblewomen, who could now afford a soft drink, but with a touch of glamor. Over the years the drink has "grown up" with the infinite variety of possible additions such as a sort of liquor (Aperol, Campari, Select) or a bitter as the China Martini or Cynar with a lemon peel inside.
The Spritz's recipe is shrouded in mystery, or perhaps never existed. There isn't a unique composition for a spritz because it changes in every city or small town where the bartenders freely interpret the doses and the entire preparation: for that the alcohol content is so variable. However, a common denominator between the existing variants is the presence of Prosecco and sparkling water or seltzer, which quantitatively must be at least 40% and 30%, the remaining 30% is completed by the most varied types of alcoholic drinks, sometimes mixed, with the unwritten rule to preserve the red color of the cocktail. To conclude the work a slice of lemon, orange or an olive and a few ice cubes.