The spritz cocktail is thought to date to the late 1800s in the Veneto region of Italy. At the time, the northeastern territory of modern-day Italy was still a part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, and the word “spritz” was derived from the German word spritzen, meaning to spray or splash. As legend goes, visiting Austrians found the local wine of the region too potent and would dilute it with a splash of water. Locally made bitter liqueurs were eventually added for a burst of color and flavor. Soon, the familiar combination of prosecco, bitter liqueur and soda water became the after-work aperitivo of choice.
While the Aperol Spritz has enjoyed global popularity, the spritz takes many forms in Italy. The Campari Spritz is one of many variations that has its own distinctive flavor profile. At about 20.5–28% ABV (depending on which country it is sold) Campari is considerably higher in alcohol than many bitter red liqueurs in the same category. This creates a bigger, bolder and more bitter spritz. Quinine and bright citrus zest blast through the bubbles, while the liqueur’s complex finish lingers. Campari’s deep crimson color acts as a visual indicator of the bottling’s more pronounced flavor profile in comparison to its lighter, orange-hued counterpart.
The Campari Spritz is a fresh and delicious staple of the sparkling cocktail category and remains an excellent option for fans of bitter and herbaceous flavors.
3 ounces prosecco
2 ounces Campari
1 ounce soda water
Garnish: orange slice
Add the prosecco, Campari, and soda water directly into an ice-filled wine glass and gently stir.
Garnish with an orange slice.
What Is the Difference Between Campari and Aperol?
In 1860, Gaspare Campari invented arguably the most iconic Italian bitter liqueur, Campari. Though its exact recipe remains a secret, many speculate that it gets its distinctive bitter flavors from the Italian chinotto sour orange. Aperol is a similar Italian bitter aperitif made with gentian root, rhubarb and citrus and was first released in 1919.
At 11% ABV, Aperol contains at least half the amount of alcohol that Campari does. The flavor profile is also considered much less bitter, slightly sweeter and more approachable. Aperol is a vibrant orange color compared to the deep red hue of Campari. While these aperitif liqueurs can be interchangeable in a variety of cocktails, the overall flavor will noticeably differ in sweetness, and level of bitterness.
Can I Use Another Sparkling Wine Besides Prosecco?
You can, of course, always use other types of sparkling wines in a spritz, but if you’re going for a traditional Italian style aperitivo, prosecco is the wine of choice. Other forms of bubbly such as a Spanish cava, French Champagne or dry California sparkling wine are comparable but may affect the texture and balance of the drink. The vibrant bubbles, and fresh, fruit-forward quality of prosecco make it an ideal partner to the Campari Spritz.