Cocktails to be Seen Drinking in Venice

Venice is one of the most glamorous cities in the world, drawing stars for work and play with festivals such as the Venice Film Festival and La Biennale di Venezia, as well as with some of the world’s most select hotels, restaurants, and bars. If ever there was a city in which to enjoy a well made cocktail, then that city is Venice, offering a plethora of vibrant campos, elegant fondamentas and beautiful balconies where to relax and slowly enjoy a delicious drink or two.

If you’re keen on staying in-the-know, and really want to make sure you enjoy your stay in Venice, then you might appreciate this list of quintessential Venetian concoctions, because Venice is one of the places to see and be seen and of course you want to make sure you’re seen doing things properly!

The Bellini (or perhaps the Rogers)

The Bellini (or perhaps the Rogers)

To start with the obvious: Venice is the birthplace of the Bellini, and since 1948 it has been made best in Harry’s Bar, around the corner from San Marco. However, you enter Venice, whether by road via Piazzale Roma, or by boat, perhaps landing at San Zaccaria as part of a luxurious Mediterranean cruise, you could do worse than to make for Harrys’ Bar straight away to shrug off the heat of the afternoon with this winning combination of white peach puree and prosecco.

Some bars add a dash of raspberry or strawberry juice to give the drink a warm pink flush but if you want to try a twist with more of a kick, then ask for a Rogers instead. Another Harry’s Bar innovation, the Rogers is a classic Bellini with a dash of rum. The addition is subtle but special, and forms the perfect accompaniment to an evening’s people-watching in one of Venice’s most remarkable bars.

The Rossini

The Rossini

If the Bellini strikes you as passé then the Rossini is a striking, lesser-known variation. Swap out the peaches for strawberry puree and the result is this delicious and festive cocktail. This cocktail was named after the Italian composer Gioachino Rossini, famous for The Barber of Seville amongst other pieces, who wasn’t Venetian per se but who wrote a lot of his music for the city’s famous opera houses.

The bold red Rossini is a distinctive choice to sip in one of the cosy bars of Castello, an area of Venice less frequented by tourists but full of hidden treasures.

The Spritz

The Spritz

In Venice there is a saying that the bars and churches never go out of business. Venice might be famous for the Bellini but the drink at the city’s heart is the Spritz. The Spritz is a mix of equal parts prosecco, sparkling water, and (most commonly) Aperol or Campari; choose Aperol if you have a sweet tooth and Campari if you fancy a bitter twist. The Spritz is served as an aperitif throughout Italy but is mixed best in Venice where anybody can be seen clutching one after about eleven o’clock in the morning. If you want to seem truly Venetian then order your Spritz with a liqueur called Select. This bright red liqueur was “born in Venice in 1920” (according to the bottle) and is little known outside the region.

This cocktail is served all over Venice but if you’re being served by someone who knows what they’re doing then the drink will come with a slice of blood orange and an olive for a savory bite. Choose your bar carefully, though, as lesser places will use the Spritz as a chance to get rid of old or lesser-quality wine leading to what local students know as the dreaded “Spritz headache”. The Spritz is best enjoyed on Campo Santa Margherita, where everyone in Venice ends up eventually. The bars here are thronging, and the sociably low-alcohol Spritz lends itself to long evenings of energetic conversation. Be cautious, though, one Spritz very easily leads to another!

Sgroppino

Sgroppino

Any one of the drinks mentioned would make a great aperetivo before food but the Sgroppino is actually the perfect digestivo to finish a meal with. Invented by Venetians in the 16th century, the name comes from Venetian dialect and means “to untie a little knot” – the knot in your stomach after too much fantastic Venetian food! The Sgroppino is a blend of prosecco (as always!), vodka, and lemon sorbet – in a good bar your waiter will blend it at your table, beating the sorbet and wine into a light and frothy whip. The Sgroppino is a great way to cleanse the pallet between courses, or to top off a meal, or to end a beautiful day.

Venice rewards all visitors, and opens its arms to everyone. It’s impossible not to be overwhelmed by the view from the deck of a ship passing down the Giudecca canal, just as it is difficult not to become lost in the romantic maze of streets leading from Piazzale Roma. The main thing to remember, though, is to take things slow. In the hands of the right barman, any one of these drinks will become the perfect accompaniment to a rich and luxurious Venetian afternoon!

Written by Julie Broadhurst.

Roxanne Genier
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Roxanne Genier

Luxury Brand Management Consultant at Roxy Genier
Roxanne or Roxy, founder of Luxe In A City, was nominated as one of the Top 5 Luxury Travel Bloggers by the readers of USA Today. Aside from overseeing this luxury travel blog, she spends her time teaching how to perfect the feeling of luxury to authentic niche brands while traveling the world with her family.
Roxanne Genier
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