Every tourist visiting Italy loves to experiment the Italian lifestyle at its fullest. And a not-to-be missed experience is, for sure, the “Aperitivo”: an enjoyable couple of hours (usually around 7pm) when the Italians relax over drinks and little snacks before their dinner.
The most fashionable drink served during the “Aperitivo” is known as SPRITZ. The very name ‘Spritz’ comes from the German ‘spritzen’, meaning ‘spray’. Also in English, the word ‘spritz’ has the same meaning, describing a quick, brief spray of liquid.
But how came that an Italian aperitif has a German name?
The origin of the drink dates back to the mid-19th century, when a huge portion of Northern Italy – including Mantua – was part of the Habsburg Empire. The story goes that the taste of the Italian wines was too strong for the German-speaking soldiers living in the region. So, quite often, they were asking bartenders to add some soda water, which was sprayed in the glass using a siphon. And so the name ‘Spritz’ was born.
Only at the beginning of the 20th century, the recipe was enriched with the addition of bitter liqueur (‘bitters’). And so, the traditional recipe of the spritz became: 1/3 of white sparkling wine (prosecco), 1/3 of soda water or Seltz, 1/3 of bitters.
There are many variations of spritz, based on the addition of different bitters. The two most common are Spritz Aperol or Spritz Campari. Other recipes include ‘Select’, ‘Cynar’ or ‘China Martini’.
Try them all and choose your favourite!