I sipped my first Spritz, ensconsed in a wicker chair along the Naviglio Grande in Milan, on one of my first nights out. Still unsure of my Italian, I had ordered the same drink as Vincenzo as Spritz was a word I could manage to say and it sounded cool. When the barista came with two orange drinks for us, I thought that I had ordered nothing but a sugar-loaded, fad and bland cocktail. It turned out that it was an old-fashioned and bitter drink with a nice tang from the orange slice. Spritz is like the Navigli in Milan. Outwardly, they can seem like the latest hype but they prove to be quaint and elegant: the’ve got Venice accents working for them, especially when the sun recedes slowly giving way to dim candle lights, the gleam of the moon on the water, sometimes covered by a lowering sky, the clinking of cutlery and glasses and… the buzzing of mosquitoes. Have you ever come skin to proboscis with a Milanese mosquito? Fierce creatures they are and when you’re allergic, they quickly become an itchy nightmare solely interrupted by brief corticosteroid reprieves. So it was soon decided, after my 150th bite of the week, that we had to outmanoeuvre the vampiric insects and we sought a safer place where we could drink Spritz without me getting paranoid about any flicker of light that might be caused by a fluttering mosquito. After a long day we would walk down Via Giuseppe Sacchi to indulge in a gelato at the gelateria Toldo, which was close to Foro Bonaparte, where we lived. Then we’d join the Piazza del Carmine to have a Spritz at the Caffè del Carmine. The Piazza del Carmine is a small and quiet square in the Brera neighbourhood, the brick and terracotta church captures the heat and sunlight and releases it at night making it a hearty yet intimate place with the regular passing of the orange trams and only few tourists snapping pictures of the chiesa.
Unrelated but I’ll be off for some (undefined) time. So ci vediamo!
I use one part Campari, one part Prosecco and one part Seltz water (which is a type of carbonated water). The other bitters traditionally used for Spritz are Aperol or Select. Aperol is slightly sweeter. If you’re not too keen on bitter cocktails, I’d recommend you add a splash of rosemary syrup (or plain cane syrup but rosemary scented would be a plus).
(for one glass)
5 cl Campari
5 cl Prosecco
5 cl Seltz water (carbonated water)
orange slice, to garnish
In a lowball glass, with one or two ice cubes, pour in the Campari. Add the Prosecco and carbonated water. If you use Seltz water, the pressure will mix the drink. Otherwise, you might need to stir with a spoon.
Garnish with an orange slice.
(pour un verre)
5 cl Campari
5 cl Prosecco
5 cl eau de Seltz
une rondelle d’orange, pour servir
Dans un verre à whisky, mettre un ou deux glaçons, verser le Campari puis ajouter le Prosecco et l’eau gazeuse. Si vous utiliser de l’eau de Seltz, la pression mélangera le Spritz. Sinon touillez rapidement avec une cuillère. Ajouter une rondelle d’orange.