Aperol Spritz, the famous sparkling aperitif with its vibrant orange color, is an iconic drink that can now be found almost anywhere in the world. But do you know when and where it originated? Keep reading to explore the origins of Italy’s favorite cocktail.
The history of Aperol Spritz began almost 110 years ago, back in 1912. That year marks the beginning of the recipe’s experimentation to create the Aperol. Brothers Luigi and Silvio Barbieri, owners of a liqueur company based in Padua, wanted to create a unique aperitif. In 1919, seven years after the experimentation started, the brothers finally found the perfect mix and balance of ingredients and invented Aperol. Its bittersweet taste and orange color derive from a secret recipe. The specific ingredients are a mystery, but what is known is that it includes an infusion of oranges, herbs and roots perfectly balanced together. The recipe has remained unchanged since its invention.
The popularity of the new liqueur increased after World War I. During that time, Aperol started to be consumed particularly in two Italian cities located in the Veneto Region: Padua and Venice. Padua is a city located west of Venice that claims to be the oldest city in northern Italy. It also boasts the second oldest university in Italy, only after Bologna. Still today, Aperol is largely consumed among its thousands of students. Obviously, Aperol became famous also in Venice, where it was consumed by young adults in the so-called “bacaros.” Bacaro is a term that in Venice indicates a sort of bar that offers typical Venetian aperitif, including Aperol or an “ombra” (a small glass of wine) and “cicchetti” (typical snacks or side dishes). But it wasn’t until the ‘50 that the recipe of Aperol Spritz as we know it today was invented. In those years, the first Aperol TV commercial (named “Il Carosello”) was released. In the ‘80, the new aperitif became famous all over Italy and then internationally.
In december 2003, Aperol was acquired by the Campari Group, which began a strong advertising campaign behind Aperol Spritz. Between 2000 and 2008, Aperol became even more popular in Italy and all around the world thanks to communication campaigns focused on art, music, and lifestyle. In 2011, Aperol Spritz became an official IBA (International Bartenders Association) cocktail. In 2019, Aperol proudly celebrated its 100 birthday. Today, it continues to be one of the most popular aperitifs in Italy.
1. Why is it called Spritz?
The term Spritz originated from the German verb “spritzen.” Back in the 19th century, the Austro-Hungarian Empire owned the Veneto region. When Austro-Hungarian soldiers tasted Italian wines for the first time, they found them too strong and consequently decided to spritz their glasses with some sparkling water to smooth the flavor.
2. The official recipe
The official recipe of Aperol Spritz approved by the IBA is very simple and can be made by anyone in less than 2 minutes. It includes some ice, 3 parts of Prosecco, 2 parts of Aperol, a splash of soda, and an orange slice to garnish the wine glass. Another way to make the famous drink is by combining Prosecco and Aperol in equal parts instead of following the 3 and 2 parts rule.