The Spritz Cocktail – Italy’s Most Popular Drink

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One of my favourite inventions from Italy is aperitivo.  Friends and family meet after work or school to get a bite to eat and have a drink.

Without a doubt the most popular drink for aperitivo is the Spritz Veneziano cocktail.

While most tourists think it’s happy hour it’s not at all.

Why is it Called the Spritz Veneziano

While the word has existed in Italy for centuries, it was once to water down strong, northern Italian wines. 

Today it’s used for wine-based cocktails, but the spritz didn’t really become popular until the alcohol producers Campari and Aperol and started heavily marketing it for aperitivo.

Now it is the drink to have after work and if you want to look less like a tourist join the locals for this bright orange cocktail.

But read more, because the Spritz Veneziano is slightly different from the regular Spritz cocktail recipe.

Gondola ride in Venice, Italy

Aperol vs Campari Spritz

Aperol and Campari are both Italian bitters, but not interchangeable. When you order a spritz you need to specify which one you want with it.

While Aperol is now owned by the Campari group, this bright orange drink is a bit lighter. It has only 7% alcohol but also a sweeter flavour.

Classic Italian Aperol Spritz cocktail close-up on a bar in nightclub

The colour of Campari is a bit more ruby red and has a stronger flavour. For this reason it’s viewed as the bigger brother of the two options.

There are also some regional variations with the spritz. In Venice the Spritz Veneziano or simply Venezianois made with white wine instead of sparkling.

It may also include a green olive garnish.

How to Make a Spritz Cocktail

3 parts Prosecco or any sparkling wine
2 parts Aperol or Campari
1 part club soda

Top with a slice of orange and add an olive if you’re in Venice to make it a Spritz Veneziano.

I think the Spritz cocktail is a bit of an acquired taste with the balance of sweet and bitter.

But I love the idea of aperitivo hour.

Everyone meets at the end of the day to talk and eat a snack before heading home for dinner.

Have you had a Spritz? Do you love it or hate it?

Spritz cocktail

The Spritz Cocktail - Italy's Most Popular Drink

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes


  • 3 parts Prosecco or any sparkling wine
  • 2 parts Aperol or Campari
  • 1 part club soda


    1. Mix together.

    2. Top with a slice of orange and add an olive if you're in Venice.

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The most popular drink in Italy is the Spritz cocktail, find out why it's so popular and how to make one.
Italian cocktail Aperol spritz
Italian cocktail Aperol spritz
Italian cocktail Aperol spritz

Join the Conversation

  1. Aperol Spritz was the cocktail of choice for many young Czech women in Prague, but never seemed to catch on among the men. Once I noticed it in Prague, I saw it all over Europe, especially as cocktail hour specials. An excuse to head back to Italy and give one a try 🙂

  2. First time I had it was in Turin, and loved it! It came with a huge plate of little hot snacks and a bowl of crisps for only 7 euro per person. We kept going back to the same place just for the aperitivo 🙂

    1. 7 €???? A spritz usually cost 2,5€

  3. Love them!

  4. What do you mean by soda?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      That’s a great question Bonnie, it’s Club Soda. I just revised the recipe to make it more clear.

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