Spritz Cocktail

The Spritz Cocktail - History of a classic Aperitif Cocktail

By Timo Torner / Last updated on March 17, 2022 
Spritz cocktails bring up a feeling of summer and la dolce vita. They elegantly combine Prosecco from Northern Italy, soda and Italian bitters. But it's actually the Austrians who brought the idea.

Summer is coming. And with it, the desire for Spritz Cocktails will rise again. Few other cocktails are tied so closely to summertime like the Spritz. Invented in Northern Italy, it is a symbol for celebrating life since the 19th century. The Spritz is a combination of bubbly Prosecco, soda water, and bitter aperitifs like Campari or Aperol. The slightly bitter but refreshing mix takes the tastebuds on a fun rollercoaster.

History of the Spritz Cocktail

Although the cocktail originates in Italy, the German sound of the name already indicates it's not an Italian creation. In fact, Austrian soldiers brought the idea of the Spritz to the Veneto region in Northern Italy. However, at this time, the territory belonged to the Austrian Empire. Austrian soldiers, who were not used to the high alcohol content of wine, diluted it with water. Like that, they achieved a similar alcohol percentage to beer. And that is when the victory march of the Spitz began. This first version of a "Spritzer" consisted of equal parts soda water and wine.

As the cocktail evolved, ingredients changed, and Italian components got added to the drink. A Venetian Spritz, for instance, now usually contains prosecco, a bitter aperitivo, and soda water.

Present in every recipe and the reason for the name of the cocktail is the soda water. "Spritzer" means sparkling or lively (due to the bubbles). People in German-speaking areas of Europe use the term as a synonym for drinks containing soda water. It is used to create refreshing drinks with a lower alcohol content or added to fruit juices and other non-alcoholic beverages.

It took quite a long time for the drink to come across the Atlantic. In the early 2000s, the Campari group, also owning Aperol, brought the "Spritz" to the United States and promoted it as the go-to drink at many events. That marked the starting point for the Spritz being one of the most famous summer drinks, not only in Europe but also in the US.

Traditional recipe formula

Aperol made enormous efforts to establish their way on how to make a perfect Aperol Spritz. It is still one of the famous versions of a Spritz. The classic formula by Aperol is almost common knowledge and offered in many places. The recipe recommends a simple 3:2:1 approach: it consists of three parts Prosecco, two parts Aperol and one part soda water.

Modern interpretations

Today, the recipes become more diverse as new and creative interpretations are constantly arising. But generally, the 3:2:1 approach still is always a great guide to achieve a well-balanced Spritz cocktail. While Prosecco and soda water remain an important part, the bitter aperitif often is replaced with something else. That can either be other, sweeter aperitifs, high-percentage spirits, juices, or a mix of these. The result always is a refreshing drink, perfect for hot summer days.

I also created an own version of a refreshing Spritz, the "Seaside Spritz." Combining the saltiness of the sea with fresh, Mediterranean flavors. If you give it a try, let me know what you think. Your feedback will be much appreciated.

Seaside Spritz Cocktail

Seaside Spritz

Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Servings: 1
Calories: 110kcal
Cost: $2.40

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 0.75 oz Edinburgh Seaside Gin
  • 0.75 oz Lillet Blanc
  • 1 oz Prosecco
  • 2 oz Soda water
  • 2 pcs Lemon wedges
  • 1 Rosemary sprig

Instructions

  • Add Gin, Lillet, Prosecco, and soda water into a wine or balloon glass and give it a gentle stir.
  • Fill the glass up with ice, squeeze in some lemon, and add the lemon wedges.
  • Garnish with a rosemary sprig. Your Spritz is ready to be served.

Nutrition

Serving: 4.75oz | Calories: 110kcal | Carbohydrates: 16.5g | Protein: 0.2g | Sodium: 43.5mg | Potassium: 4mg | Sugar: 16.5g | Calcium: 10mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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