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Try a Spritz for the Holidays

Looking for a new drink this holiday season? Try one of the favorite drinks of Venice.

Walk into bar or cafe in Venice and you will hear locals asking for, "Uno spritz con aperol," or "Uno spritz con bitter." Unlike cappucino, which is a coffee only drunk in the morning by Italians, a spritz is drunk in the afternoon and evening. It's a digestive drink that whets the appetite. It might be a light snack or a hearty meal. But, how do you make it?

Use a tulip shaped glass. Pour and ounce of the aperitivo of choice, fill to 1/3 mark with dry, white wine, then the apéritif of choice till the glass is 2/3 full, then fill to near the top with soda water, add a slice of fruit and an ice cube.

The aperitivo you select determines the flavor and the type of fruit used.

Cynar is made from artichokes. Yes, that's right, artichokes. The color is close to maderia, rather than the earthy green you imagine. It is the bitterest of the apéritifs. Use lemon as your fruit, some add an olive as well.

People have a love hate relationship with Campari. Some people love it, my husband, and some people hate it, such as myself. But, when placed into a drink it has the ability to transform into something delectable. When Italians order Campari in their drinks they refer to it as "bitter." This is the most popular choice for the Spritz in Venice. Serve with lemon as your fruit and the optional olive.

Aperol is the second favorite choice. Aperol is an Italian apéritif, born in 1919, made of an infusion of spirit with rhubarb, chinchona, genziana and few others secret herbs. It has a sweet-bitter orange and herb taste, with a red-orange colour. Always use a slice of orange in your Aperol Spritz, and don't forget the olive.

The Select based spritz is the sweetest of the four. It is a bright cherry red, and served with a slice of orange. Think Kool-Aid and you will have an idea of the flavor.

Try this great drink at your holiday party. You can substitute pro-secco (a dry sparkling wine) for the white wine for a more festive occasion. Your guests will never forget it!

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