Traditional Venetian cocktail recipe: The Spritz

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When travelling in Venice during the Italian summer, a traditional Venice recipe to try is the Spritz cocktail.

In fact, so traditional is this pre-dinner drink in Venice that it is also called a “Spritz Veneziano” or even simply a “Veneziano”.

Inspired by the Austrian “Spritzer” (white wine and sparkling water), the tradition of the Spritz in Venice is said to hail back to the time when the city was under Austrian rule.

Now all fancied up with a touch of Italian flair, the Spritz recipe sees some ice added to either a short tumbler or red wine glass. Add a dash of wine or prosecco sparkling wine and a splash of Campari, Aperol, Select or Cynar (or other alcoholic bitters of choice) before topping off the glass with sparkling water. An orange slice, lemon peel or olive is added for a final touch of class.

A Spritz in Venice is best enjoyed sitting in a local bar (preferably in a charming piazza and/or with picturesque water views). It will usually be served with little sandwiches, nuts or potato crisps, as Italians do not usually have alcohol without some food to accompany it.

Most traditional Italian restaurants have their first seatings at 7.30 pm onwards, making an aperitivo (aperitif/pre-dinner drink served with hors-d’oeuvres) a great way to tide you over until dinner time and also enjoy Venice amongst the locals.

For greater insight into Venice’s food and wine culture, we have the My Exclusive Taste of Venice: Bacari Wine Tour.

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