As you may know, the ‘Spritz’ is a typical Venetian cocktail, prepared with prosecco, Aperol or Bitter and a bit of sparkling mineral water, that Venetian people love to take during the happy hour.
The story of this orange and freezy cocktail started when the Austrian empire took over Venice, in the 19th century. In fact, the Austrian soldiers used to drink a glass of white wine mixed with sparkling water, which name was “Spritzen”.
You can easily see the similarity between the two words Spritz and Spritzen, the only thing that actually changes is the color, that in the former is bright orange or red, depending if you add some Aperol or Bitter in it.
Even if this aperitif looks like one of those cocktails you usually order right after dinner, Venetians love drinking in it late in the afternoon, mainly after a long day of work.
But Spritz is not the only Venetian aperitives you might find in our city. You’ve probably got the chance to hear the world “ombra” pronounced by a local, which literally means “shadow”, but in reality, it refers to something to drink.
An “ombra” is a nothing more than a small glass of red or white wine that you usually pay 1 or 2 euros in every local bar.
There’s another thing you could try once in Venice, during the happy hour, and it’s called Bellini.
Bellini is a sweet cocktail, made with white peach juice and prosecco. This is the original one, but during years the inventor of this drink made some changes to the recipe, substituting the white peach juice with strawberries creating the so-called Rossini or with oranges, giving life to the famous Mimosa.
There’s another variation you can taste, but it’s a bit rarer and, it’s typical of the neighboring areas. We are talking about the Tintoretto, which is made with prosecco, of course, and pomegranate juice.
When Venetians have an aperitif in one of the famous Venice bacari, it’s unusual that they don’t ask for something to eat too.
In fact, as tradition wants, a spritz or an ombra must be accompanied with a typical “cicchetto”.
“Chicchetti” are small and tasty snacks, often with fish, usually served during the happy hour.
But the real answer is: how to choose the right one to taste for first? You’re spoiled for choice.
You could start with a plate of sardines with onions, that we call “sardee in saor”, or a portion of “moscardini” (baby octopuses). But don’t forget to taste the half-egg with anchovies and a piece of bread with some “baccalà mantecato” spread on it.
If you are looking for some pieces of advice regarding where to eat like a local in Venice, we suggest you read this article we wrote.