The History of the Spritz

In the past few years, Spritz became the symbol of the Italian aperitif all over the world and it’s probably the most popular in Italy too.
The present recipe, made with Aperol, is the most famous and popular but actually is just one of the several versions of this cocktail.
It was created in the Veneto region, early 1800 during the Austrian control, when the Habsburg soldiers used to add water to the white wines, which they considered too alcoholic: it was the first Spritz (“spritzen” in German means to spray).
In many areas of Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto regions if you ask for a Spritz, you are going to be served with a drink like that.
It can be prepared with a still wine, like it’s prepared in Venice, or fuzzy, typical in Padua, or sparkling wines, like Prosecco used in Treviso, but it’s compulsory to spray with seltzer or sparkling water.
The cocktail drunk nowadays was first created in the Twenties, when someone added bitter, Aperol in Padua and Select in Venice.
The version with Aperol spread all over the Northern Italy as of the Seventies and soon became a global success, included in the IBA list (International Bartender Association) with the name “Spritz Veneziano” (Venice Spritz).
As a matter of fact, the Venetian Spritz is made with the local Bitter, the Select and it’s served with a green olive. The Spritz Campari is typical of Milano and the Pirlo Spritz is served all over Brescia area.
In South Tyrol the Spritz is called Hugo and it’s prepared with an elderflower syrup in the place of bitter.
Besides these versions, there are others with China Martini or Cynar, which are used instead of bitters with good results.