Thursday, June 21, 2012

It's damn hot- time for a spritz

It's in the 90's in Boston for the second day. I barely had the strength to make gazpacho to sustain myself. So I can hardly be expected to come up with a fresh blog post. So here, in the true spirit of summer, is a re-run from 2008 about the spritz cocktail. Highly recommended.

What is a spritz? I'm glad you asked. It's something that I wish I had right this minute, as muggy (afoso) as it is now in Boston.
When I lived in the Veneto (the area of which Venice is the capital), I partook bodaciously of this drink. Since then, it has only reached ever higher peaks of well-deserved glory, to the point that it has become a happy hour ritual for Italian youths.

Like so many Italian "recipes," it's variable. Basically, it is composed of 40% dry white wine, 30% sparkling mineral water (or seltzer, or tonic water), and 30% liqueur- usually Bitter Campari, Aperol or Cynar (which is made from artichokes). An easy, fast spritz could be made with Prosecco and Campari. Sometimes a lemon or orange slice is added, or an olive, and ice. But the more authentic spritz I had in Venice were at room temperature with no additions.

It is thought that the name comes from the German verb for "to spray," and that it originated during the Austro-Hungarian occupation of Northern Italy, when the Austrians found that the Veneto wines were too strong and watered them down. Of course, the Veneti, big drinkers that they are, were having none of this, and upped the alcohol content with the liqueur.