drink in Venice

Drinks to enjoy in Venice

Bellini, Spritz, Sgroppino are three of the most famous drinks you can enjoy in Venice (or should we call it Venezia?)…
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Venezia is one of the most amazing cities in the world. And Venetians shaped so much of Italian history with many travels and many books. While you are walking in the calle (the narrow streets along the canals) and you “exercise” by climbing bridges, a healthy thirst may occur 😉

Drinks to enjoy in Venice #1: Prosecco

Is there still anybody out there who hasn’t heard of Prosecco?
The export of this wine has skyrocketed in the past years and you can find it almost everywhere in the world: in Europe and the USA, it is very popular.

Drinks to enjoy in Venice Prosecco
Drinks in Piazza San Marco, Venezia – Photo by Kate Townsend on Unsplash

The hills of Treviso, 30 minutes by car from Venezia, are the birthplace of this sparkling wine which is a must in Venice and it is also the ingredient of some famous Venetian cocktails. The wine is such in high demand that the glera grape, main variety used in it, are cultivated almost in the whole Veneto region and part of the Friuli Venezia Giulia.

Expect: The same refreshing easy-drinking sparkling wine with apple and pear notes, flavorful, light-bodied, (usually) brut or extra-dry, that you may have drunk in your countries. Maybe even better: the quality can be higher especially if you are used to buying Prosecco at the supermarket.
Don’t expect: The same wallet-friendly price… Venice is, per definition, more expensive than the mainland: transportation, rents, maintenance, everything is costlier here.

Venetian Drink #2: Spritz!

You can’t stop counting all the glass of spritz that you will see in Venice, or in the rest of Italy. This cocktail is probably the most enjoyed during the aperitivo hour, at least from the ladies, while some men could prefer Negroni.
The red version has been driven also from a good marketing strategy of one famous bitter brand, and you will find it everywhere. It was invented probably in the 1920s when the original spritz started to be “colored” with a splash of bitter like Aperol in Padova or Select by the brothers Pilla in Venezia.

Venetian Drink Spritz
Spritz Bianco alla Veneta – peanuts are the perfect pairing

When you are in Venice, we suggest you try the white version, the original cocktail from the 1700-1800s.
Spritz Bianco alla Veneta is probably the easiest and most refreshing drink you can find everywhere in the world:
2 parts of sparkling wine (Yes, Prosecco)
1 part of sparkling water
Add ice and a slice of lemon. Stir.

Drinks to enjoy in Venice #3: Bellini

Bellini is another cocktail with Prosecco, an amarcord from the past with a more elegant and romantic story than the spritz.

Drinks to enjoy in Venice Bellini
Bellini at Harry’s Bar – Photo @Cipriani

“In creating what was to become known as the bellini cocktail in 1948, my father was … inspired by a painter,” Arrigo Cipriani writes in the book Harry’s Bar: The Life and Times of the Legendary Venice Landmark. “The 15th century Venetian painter Giovanni Bellini was often mentioned at home. I had no idea at the time that the pink glow my father had so admired in one of Bellini’s paintings would be the inspiration for his famous cocktail.”

“Peaches are in abundance throughout Italy from June through September, and my father had a predilection for the white ones. – he adds – He experimented by pureeing small white peaches and adding some prosecco. Those who tested it gave it rave reviews … He named it the Bellini, and from that day on the pink drink became part of the Harry’s Bar culture”.

Even if this cocktail could be time-consuming to prepare from scratch, the recipes is simple:
1 part of peach puree
2 parts of sparkling wine (Yes, Prosecco!)
Stir the drink while slowly incorporating the chilled Prosecco

Last but not least – Drink #4: Sgroppino

Technically, Sgroppino is not an aperitivo drink: it can be considered more a digestivo. The habit for Venetians is to have it during a long meal with several courses as a way to refresh the palate.

Sgroppino is one of the authentic drinks in Venice
Sgroppino – picture credit A Communal Table

Created by the inventive and masterful Venetians back in the 16th century, the Sgropin, as it’s called in the Venetian dialect, means to untie a little knot — the ones in your stomach following a rather large meal. It seems like this drink was first mentioned in a menu in the 16th century and it is related to the trade between Venice and the Eastern countries. Mind that in that historical period, ice was true luxury, so Sgroppino was one of the quintessential drinks to enjoy in Venice.

Made with milk-free lemon sorbetto (sorbet) and a bit of alcohol, the Sgroppino was served in aristocratic Venetian homes during dinner to cleanse the palate between the first and second courses — normally fish to meat — and to also help digest all that was consumed at the tail-end of the dinner. That tradition continues today, with a few minor tweaks to the centuries-old recipe.

Though Sorbetto can be non-alcoholic, Sgroppino actually calls for milk, Prosecco, and some stronger booze like Vodka, even if somebody suggests replacing it with a more Italian Limoncello or Grappa.

The simplest cocktail preparation is:

8 tbsp gelato al limone
200 ml Prosecco
8 tablespoons Vodka

In the Kitchen Aid, use the whip to start creating a cream with the gelato. Then add the prosecco. Lastly, add the vodka.
Pour in a flute. Enjoy!

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