Venice Spritz, a typical aperitive

Dear Guests,
Welcome to our fourth appointment which is about a very typical Venetian drink: the “spritz” - an alcoholic aperitif originally made of wine and water. On your trips to Venice, when walking by bar/cafe tables, you may have noticed glasses with orange or red liquid in them - and these, were in fact, spritzes!
The origin of this drink is unsure, but the legend goes that it was born during World War I during the occupation by Austrian troops in the Piave, Valdobbiadene and Conegliano areas (where the “prosecco” wine is produced), and from there extended to Treviso, Padua, Venice and other Veneto and Friuli Venezia-Giulia towns. Austrian soldiers, to lower the alcoholic level of the Veneto wines, diluted them with soda water (or seltz, in Italian). This lighter drink was called “spritz,” from the German verb “spritzen” (to spurt). Over the years, the recipe changed, and now there are many versions.
If you want to create your own, use 40% white wine (some people prefer sparkling “prosecco”), 30% sparkling mineral water, with the remaining 30% for your fantasy and personal taste: “Aperol” (sweet liquor giving an orange colour), “Campari” (bitter with a red colour), or “Cynar” (a liquor made from artichokes, even more bitter, and darker). In rare cases, some people use Gin, “China Martini,” “Select” and other ingredients. Ice, should be added, especially in summer and a garnish of a lemon or orange slice or even an olive. The final alcoholic content will vary according to the liquor added, but usually is about 15%, making it stronger than wine - the opposite of what the Austrian soldiers set out to do! It is very drinkable, and most enjoyable with some “cicheti” - the Venetian version of small bites or tapas.
With your “spritz” in hand, it is time to toast your friends, and we want to take this opportunity to toast all our friends and guests, and wish them Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year! If you would like to receive our 2012 calendar, its subject being Venetian lagoon shells, please provide us with your full postal address including zip code by email to We are looking forward to welcoming you back at “Ca’ Pisani,” where we now host a once weekly Happy Hour for our guests. Fabio, Sheila and Hendri of ‘La Rivista’ and I will be pleased to serve you a “spritz” or other aperitif of your choice. If you are planning a visit, please look at the offers and packages on our web-site, including a St. Valentine’s in Venice, the most romantic city in the world.
All the best, Marianna Serandrei