The One Ingredient You Didn't Know Your Aperol Spritz Was Missing
Like many people, I found myself becoming quite the cocktail connoisseur during the pandemic. I was gifted a fantastic cocktail book, Spirited: Cocktails from Around the World, which introduced me to hundreds of amazing classic libations and their origins. While I already knew and loved the highly controversial Aperol spritz (controversial thanks to this viral 2019 article from The New York Times), this book taught me that the spritz originated in Venice, and was first known as the Venetian spritz. Though there have been different iterations, you'll find the original version served all over Venice—and note that it has a slight distinction from the Aperol spritzes sipped on patios across the U.S. come summertime.
Try This Recipe: Grapefruit Aperol Spritz
Similarly to an Aperol spritz, a Venetian spritz features dry prosecco, club soda and amaro of choice—typically Aperol, Select or Campari (if you haven't heard of Select and are a fan of Aperol, you should try it out—I just might like it more). But instead of a singular orange wheel garnish, a classic Venetian spritz also features skewered green olives—one or as many as you can fit.
I started garnishing my spritzes with skewered olives to make them Venetian-style, which also left me with a delicious post-drink snack. This had me wondering how olive brine would taste in the beverage, especially for my friends who don't like Aperol spritzes (some say they think it tastes like shampoo).
A spritz already has a bit of sweetness from the prosecco and plenty of bitterness from the amaro (hence the shampoo comment), so I thought it might taste perfectly balanced with a little saltiness. I started adding in some brine from a jar of high-quality olives sitting in my fridge, adding a ½ teaspoon at a time into my spritz until I found my perfect ratio. If you want to try this, play around with your own ratios until you find the flavor that meets your preferences.
Not only does adding the olive brine round out the flavor of my Aperol spritzes, it also feels even more refreshing on a warm, sweaty summer's day in the South when more electrolytes are always appreciated (yes, sodium is an electrolyte). Below, you'll find my recipe that you can alter if you want your spritz more or less salty. Salute!
An Olive Lover's Aperol Spritz
- 3 ounces dry prosecco (I like Valdo Prosecco Extra Dry)
- 2 ounces Aperol
- 1 ounce sparkling water
- 2 teaspoons green olive brine
- Half orange wheel and pitted green olives, to garnish (and snack on!)
Add prosecco, Aperol, and olive brine to an ice-filled spritz glass (or large stemmed glass of choice) and stir. Top with sparkling water and garnish.