By Madeleine Ignon | June 27, 2011

Photo: Madeleine Ignon

I spent three and a half months living in Venice, Italy when I was twenty, in the fall of 2007. It was a rare and fascinating experience considering most people breeze through the city for a week or two to hit the tourist spots and take a gondola ride.

I was still there after the tourists got too hot, the weather got too cold, the water got too high. In my weeks spent wandering the streets, exploring different neighborhoods, and trying to get beyond the frustrating layer of tourists, I found a sliver of the authentic Venice. It’s a city of intense beauty and mystery with a population of fiercely proud Italians that have their own set of traditions, cultural quirks, and a unique dialect.

This cocktail, which I drank almost every afternoon after school, is ubiquitous in the Veneto region and a Venetian staple. It’s more like a designated part of the day than a drink (I would often hear “It’s spritz time!” around 4pm).

Italians drink it like iced tea, because it is as refreshing and reviving. You can make it as strong or weak as you like, and you can use Aperol or Campari depending on your taste. I used Aperol because it is slightly sweeter, but both give it a beautiful bright orange color. Don’t forget a slice of Meyer lemon, orange, or even an olive as a garnish.

Photo: Madeleine Ignon

Adapted from many combinations I tried in the Veneto

  • One part Prosecco or dry white wine, chilled
  • One part Aperol, Campari, or other bitter aperitif
  • One part sparkling water
  • Slice of citrus, for garnish


Combine ingredients in a glass or tumbler over ice and stir gently. Garnish with a slice of citrus, and enjoy.

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