Venetian Aperitivo Experience: Sip on Signature Cocktails and Discover the Perfect Location
Dive into the Story Behind the Venetian Aperitif and its Name
You can drink an aperitivo…or you can experience the aperitivo in Venice.
The urban layout of the city is such as to make social interactions more intense than anywhere else in the world.
In Venice you are more or less compelled to cover all distances on foot; the width of calli, campielli and campi leads you to encountering friends and acquaintances even among a thousand tourists!
In this microcosm suspended on the lagoon, a social ritual has been taking place for centuries: indulging in the aperitif.
“Let’s go and have a glass of wine in the shade”, “Let’s drink a spritz?!”
“andemo a bever n’ombra de vin!!”.
There is always a good reason to drink an aperitif: time away from the frenetic pace of life in which you disconnect from the world and rediscover the pleasure of chatting or laughing.
Venice never disappoints you, in terms of beauty and uniqueness.
After work, when the sun bathes the city in gold reflections and you are not yet hungry, we can gently slide in a private dimension of well-being.
The aperitif is a mood, a state of mind, a gap of time: the opportunity to relate.
Life is made of human connections: it is essential and necessary to nurture them by indulging in the luxury of having an aperitif together.
The aperitif can also be a way to find yourself, sipping the well-harmonized aromatic blend in your glass.
Surrounded by nature or by architectural masterpieces of Venice, the aperitif time can be a complete and unforgettable experience.
Soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, botanical extracts that have made the history of liqueurs, well-known drinks, innovative cocktails.
The world of aperitifs in Venice opens up before us in all its vastness and uniqueness.
History and tradition of aperitif in Venice
Drinking to refresh and socialize began in the shade, (“ombra”), by the “Paron de casa”, (“landlord”), the bell tower that dominates the Venice skyline.
Since the golden age of the Serenissima Republic, the Venetians had been enjoying “un’ombra de vin”: a glass of wine consumed at the wine-selling stalls, following the shadow of the Campanile of Piazza San Marco.
The stalls for the sale of wine would move around to stay in the shadow projected by the bell tower to keep the wine cool.
Triumphant or defeated, Venice has always managed to enhance the legacy of every culture.
Between the late 1700s and early 1800s it was under Austrian control and it is said that the Habsburg soldiers drank a beverage made of white wine mixed – “spritzen” – with sparkling water, to dilute the alcohol in the Venetian wine.
An ‘Austro-Hungarian’ aperitif that has been reinterpreted thanks to the creative and entrepreneurial spirit inspired by the local ingredients of the territory
Francesco Guardi, "Piazza San Marco verso la Basilica" (1760-1765; London, National Gallery). You can see the stalls selling "shadows" by the Campanile
Discover the typical aperitif cocktails in Venice
The “Spritz” aperitif, the iconic venetian cocktail as we know it today was mixed in the early nineteenth century.
The Austro-Hungarian drink has been enriched with various liqueurs that have made the history of Italian drinking worldwide.
One such product was born in 1920 in Venice. It’s name is said to have been inspired by the poet Gabriele D’Annunzio. The Select, (abbreviation from the Latin “selectus”), is a distillate spirit made from thirty aromatic herbs. If the Select speaks Venetian the other liqueur used to mix the aperitif speaks Paduan: the Aperol was created by infusing orange, roots and herbs in alcohol.
At Caffè Florian we prepare the “Spritz Florian” using Rosso Nardini, a recipe based on orange, gentian, vanilla and china.
With notes of herbs, spices and citrus the Florian Spritz tantalizes the palate with an aromatic flavour perfect for accompanying a moment of relax or socialization.
– Fill the glass with ice
– Adding Prosecco (6cl)
– Add the Rosso Nardini or the liqueur of your choice (4cl)
– Add a spray of soda
– Gently mix it all with a long cocktail spoon
– Garnish with half a slice of orange or lemon
Aperitifs and Signature Cocktails
Proud of its culinary roots, Venice is keeping up with the evolution in the world of mixology. Tradition and innovation, mixed in a continuous research for olfactory and gustatory combinations, creates alchemical effects that surprise and captivate with every sip.
Among the typical cocktails, the “Spritz” stands out as a Venetian iconic aperitif. Prepared with Prosecco, customized to suit various tastes by blending it with a choice of Aperol, Campari, Select or Cynar, and a splash soda, it offers the right balance between sweetness and bitterness that awakens the appetite.
The art of Venetian aperitif has among its symbols the “Bellini”, born at the legendary Harry’s Bar. A refined cocktail that combines fresh white peach and Prosecco, creating a light and fragrant drink. “Bellini” embodies elegance, but the “Negroni” reflects Venice’s daring spirit: prepared with gin, red vermouth and Campari, it offers a strong and complex flavour, perfect for adventurous palates.
The sources of inspiration in creating an aperitif come from Venice’s history and fresh raw materials, such as seasonal fruit.
Prosecco, Champagne or a Ginger Ale (for the non-alcoholic choice), are mixed with fresh fruit puree for a unique result that refreshes the palate and delights the taste buds.
In the summer at Caffè Florian you can savor the “Tiepolo”: fresh strawberry puree with Prosecco Florian, in the classic version.
In the autumn the aperitif is called “Tintoretto” and is prepared with Prosecco and freshly squeezed pomegranate juice.
Winter is celebrated with mandarin in the aperitif we dedicated to “Puccini”.
- 3/10 strawberry juice
- 7/10 Prosecco
- PREPARATION: pour all the ingredients into the mixing glass with crystalline ice. Mix with the long spoon and filter the mixture with the strainer in the icy flûte.
Exquisite Venetian Gastronomic Delights for the Perfect Aperitif Experience
The aperitif in Venice is a social ritual that involves everyone, residents and tourists alike. In a setting where elegant historic cafes blend with lively hidden bacàri in the calli, the aperitif becomes an opportunity to connect with the city and its people.
The Venetian Gastronomic Delights, the “cichéti” are on display in the small typical taverns that offer a variety of appetizers called in Italian “cicchetti”, derived from the Latin “ciccus” meaning”small quantity”.
Forerunners of finger food, these delicacies are often served on slices of crispy bread.
From the classics ones like creamed cod, sardines in saòr, boiled egg with anchovy or meatballs, to more innovative treats like tuna tartare with citrus, the “cicchetti” enhance the variety and freshness of local ingredients and complement the sipping and tasting of the aperitif.
Choosing an unforgettable location to enjoy an aperitif is perhaps the most exciting challange in Venice. The selection is truly extensive, but if you wish to indulge in a sensory and artistic experience, there are exclusive venues like the Arts Bar of St. Regis Venice, or the iconic Harry’s Bar, birthplace of the Bellini cocktail.
Caffè Florian, while respecting the tradition yet with a keen eye on the evolution of taste, has created cocktails for a ritual that blends past and present. You can enjoy an aperitif sitting in Piazza San Marco while admiring the Basilica of San Marco and the notes of the quintet revive nostalgic emotions. Or you can choose to ‘let yourself be’ in the nineteenth-century halls and get lost in the vertigo of time: sensing the voices of illustrious guests who posed on the red sofas in contemplation, in vibrant artistic inspiration or animated by revolutionary fervor.
Such a unique atmosphere makes the aperitif in Venice an unforgettable experience for the palate and the heart.