Just a spritz

Flashback: September 1, 2007

I highly recommend sampling regional cocktail specialties everywhere you travel and selecting one as the signature drink for that trip. It's a lovely way to slip into the rhythm of the local environment and provides instant recall of fond holiday memories long after you've gone home.

Behold the Aperol Spritz,
known in Northern Italy as a Pirlo.

In the dialect of Brescia, the birthplace of both my husband and this yummy cocktail, the word "pirlo" means "fall" and refers to the way the Aperol falls into the wine when they're mixed.

For Jen and I it had a slightly less poetic etymology, derived from the consequences of one carafe too many.

This spritzer, made up of sparking wine (usually prosecco or Franciacorta), Aperol, and seltzer, is typically served as an aperitivo before meals to stimulate the appetite - as if our appetites needed further encouragement. It is, however, commonly acceptable to enjoy a pirlo at any hour. A permission we appreciated wholeheartedly.

A quintessentially Italian refreshment, the spritz is the perfect accompaniment to people-watching in piazzas. Simple yet sophisticated, it's far more festive than plain prosecco and more chic than a cliche Cosmopolitan. And for those who wish to channel Audrey Hepburn on a Roman Holiday, it's much safer than a vintage Vespa.

The are many versions of the spritz, most of which were born in the Northeastern provinces due to their proximity to the prosecco and Franciacorta wine regions. And although this tipple is native to Northern Italy, for me this specific iteration is a touchstone for our three magical days in the Eternal City - which we invoked with alarming frequency once we got back.

Below is a list of 6 variations on this classic Italian refreshment.


In order to properly qualify as a Spritz, the following rules must be adhered to:

40% white wine (prosecco or franciacorta)
30% sparkling mineral water, preferably highly carbonated - NOT soda
30% from a range of liquors, depending on the region

Spritz Veneziano (Venice)
1/3 white wine
1/3 mineral water
1/3 Campari, Select or Aperol
a slice of orange if using Campari or Select.
if using Aperol, a slice of orange or green oilve (or both)

Spritz Trevigiano (Treviso)
5/10 prosecco
3/10 Aperol or Campari
2/10 mineral water
3/10 “whatever you like”
a green olive or a slice of orange

Spritz Padovano (Padova)
1/2 prosecco
1/2 of one or more Aperol, Bitter, Cynar, Campari, Gin.
an olive or a sliced of orange

Spritz Triestino (Trieste)
1/4 dry white wine
1/4 Campari
2/4 seltzer or mineral water
lemon rind

Spritz Udinese (Udine)
1/3 Verduzzo or Friulano (Tocai)
1/3 mineral water
1/3 Aperol or Campari
lemon rind

and last but not least,

Spritz Bresciano, a.k.a. il Pirlo (Brescia)

1/3 Prosecco or Brut
1/3 mineral water (very fizzy) or soda
1/3 Bitter Campari or Aperol
lots of ice and a slice of orange


I love comments almost as much as prosecco. Almost...

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