Select Aperitivo | A Venetian Story

Select Aperitivo

A Venetian Story

I’d never been to Venice before which is strange, firstly given my ardent love for Italy and secondly given that Venice is regarded in many minds as one of Italy’s crown jewels; it’s Waterworld-esque existence being a truly unique proposition.

My task was to broaden my Aperitivo knowledge beyond the realms of drinking Aperol Spritz in the hazy summer sun, while lounging care-free discussing banalities with friends. There is nothing wrong with that of course, but if ever my journey into the world of spirits & wines has taught me anything, it’s this:

“The first version you encounter, is rarely ever the best”

And so it was with an open mind — and an open palate — that I stepped onto the first of many water taxis with my hosts Select Aperitivo, to explore Venice and learn more about the culture of the “Spritz”.

Not being a massive Spritz drinker by nature, this world was new for me in so many ways, so I approached it much in the manner of a child that’s been held back a year at school — pretended I knew nothing.

“SELECT Aperitivo is the classic Venetian aperitif and was created in 1920 in the Castello district at Pilla Distilleries, a place renowned for the art of liquor making.”

The Original Venetian Spritz

The Original Venetian Spritz



  • 3 parts Prosecco
  • 2 parts SELECT Aperitivo 1 splash soda water
  • 1 large green olive



Pour cold prosecco into a wine glass over ice. Add Select, a splash of soda water and gently stir together. Garnish with a large green olive and enjoy in good company.

To get a better idea of the Aperitivo world, I spoke to Alessandro Zampieri owner of Venetian experiential cocktail Il Mercante and the Venetian Brand Ambassador.

“I often do blind taste tests on our customers with the Select Aperitvo Spritz, and other Spritzes — Select normally wins.”

He puts this down to the complex flavour profile that Select boasts; made from a blend of over 30 botanicals from around the world, Select has that citrus edge, but swiftly balanced by a real floral tone, brought about by the inclusion of juniper berries among others.

He also explained that another of the key differences between Select Aperitivo and other more widely renown Aperitifs is its alcohol content; Select has 17.5% whereas Aperol for example has an abv of 11.5%.

These two factors synergistically combined create an Aperitif that can be genuinely enjoyed — without compromise — in many different ways. A simple Select and Soda water (1 part Select, 2 parts Soda) is a great cocktail to drink, despite its simplicity, as the complex flavours of Select shine through while still having enough ‘kick’ due to the pervasive alcohol content.<

Despite Select Aperitivo being created in 1920 and being hailed by locals as one of Venice’s most celebrated exports, this hidden gem is yet to fully catch flame outside Italy, although the sentiment is that it’s all about to change. With their 100yr anniversary just around the corner and a new bottle design inspired by another of Venice’s famous exports, the handmade Murano glass, Select Aperitivo are expanding distribution in a bid to bring the Classic Venetian Spritz to the world.

Somehow Aperitivo hour with traditional Venetian Cicchetti doesn’t quite feel the same when you’re back in the UK. But a light alcoholic beverage to refresh from a hard day at the coalface of life? That always works. Oh — and don’t forget the olive.



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