If you’re looking for a refreshing and bitter cocktail, the Americano might be just what you need. This classic Italian drink dates back to the 1860s and is composed of Campari, sweet vermouth, and soda water. It’s a perfect aperitif to enjoy before a meal or to sip on a hot summer day.
The Americano is an iconic cocktail that has been enjoyed by many, including James Bond, who ordered it in Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale. The cocktail’s history is fascinating, with its origin story tracing back to Gaspare Campari’s bar in Milan, where it was known as the Milano-Torino. The drink’s popularity spread throughout Italy and eventually made its way to America, where it became a favorite among American tourists during Prohibition. Today, the Americano remains a beloved classic cocktail that bartenders around the world continue to serve in highball glasses with an orange twist garnish.
The Americano cocktail has a fascinating history that dates back to the mid-19th century. The cocktail was first created at Gaspare Campari’s bar in Milan, Italy, and it was initially called the Milano-Torino. The name was a reference to the two main ingredients of the cocktail, Campari from Milan and sweet vermouth from Turin.
The Americano cocktail became popular with American tourists during Prohibition, and it was often served in cafes with club soda and ice. The refreshing aperitif is made with three ingredients: Campari, sweet vermouth, and soda water. The cocktail is typically served in a highball glass with a garnish of orange slice or orange peel.
The Americano cocktail gained even more popularity when it was featured in Ian Fleming’s James Bond novel, “Casino Royale.” In the book, Bond orders an Americano before switching to his signature drink, the Vesper Martini.
In recent years, the Americano has seen a resurgence in popularity as bartenders have rediscovered classic cocktails. The Americano is often served as an aperitivo, an Italian tradition of a pre-dinner drink to stimulate the appetite. The cocktail is also sometimes served on the rocks, garnished with an orange twist or lemon twist.
How to Make It
- 1 ½ Ounces Campari
- 1 ½ Ounces Sweet vermouth
- Club soda
- 1 Orange twist garnish
- First fill your glass with ice, then add both the Campari and the sweet vermouth
- Add club soda to taste and stir the mixture gently, making sure you don't destroy the soda's bubbles
- Use your orange twist to garnish the drink and serve fresh
If you’re looking to mix up your Americano game, there are plenty of variations to try. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
The Negroni is a classic cocktail that features Campari front-and-center, along with equal parts gin and sweet vermouth. Swap out the soda water in the Americano for gin, and you’ve got yourself a Negroni. Garnish with an orange peel for a bittersweet twist.
Soda Water Substitutes
Try swapping out the soda water in your Americano for other bubbly beverages, such as Perrier or even coffee. You can also experiment with adding a splash of fruit juice or flavored syrup to the mix.
Made famous by James Bond in “Casino Royale,” the Vesper is a variation on the classic martini that uses gin, vodka, and Lillet Blanc instead of vermouth. To make a Vesper Americano, swap out the vermouth in your recipe for Lillet Blanc and add a splash of vodka.
The Americano is said to have originated in Milan, where it was known as the “Milano-Torino” due to its two main ingredients: Campari from Milan and sweet vermouth from Turin. To make a more authentic Milano-Torino, use Cinzano vermouth instead of the more commonly used Martini & Rossi.
Orange Twist Garnish
While the classic Americano recipe calls for a lemon twist, you can switch things up by using an orange twist instead. This will add a slightly sweeter, more citrusy note to the drink.
On the Rocks
While the americano is traditionally served in a highball glass with ice, you can also serve it “on the rocks” in an old-fashioned or rocks glass. This will give the drink a slightly stronger, more concentrated flavor.
If you’re a fan of the bitterness in the Americano, try experimenting with other bitter liqueurs like Aperol or Fernet-Branca. You can also try adding a dash of bitters to the mix for an even more complex flavor.