Curiously enough, the Americano cocktail was also a favorite of James Bond (it’s the first drink he orders in Casino Royale), but it never came to be associated with the spy in the way that the Vesper and, of course, the Martini were. The Americano and its origins date back to Italy in the 1860s, when it was first called the Milano-Torino, a reference to its ingredients: Campari (from Milano) and Cinzano sweet vermouth (from Torino). The drink became wildly popular with visiting Americans, and so the drink was nicknamed the Americano. The moniker stuck, and the rest, as they say, is history. One with a bitter orange bite.–Greg Seider
LC All Right With Americano Note
Although we’re not crazy about the way many American tourists act while traveling abroad [Editor’s Note: Noooooo, David, we’re not talking about you!], we’ll drink to any cocktail as lovely as this, even if it is named for our fellow citizens. But enough about the cocktail’s title. Curious as to what it’s all about? It’s low in alcohol, slightly bitter, has a lilt of orange, and never fails to takes the edge off a long day. Cin cin!
- Collins glass (optional)
- 1 ounce Campari
- 1/2 ounce Antica Formula sweet vermouth (red vermouth with vanilla flavoring)
- 1/2 ounce Dolin sweet vermouth (white vermouth)
- Club soda
- Twist or strip orange peel preferably organic, for garnish
- Stash a Collins glass (a tall glass that typically holds 10 to 14 ounces) or a plain old pint glass in the freezer until frosty and chilled.
- Stir the Campari and both vermouths into the chilled glass and add ice. Top with the club soda and stir again. Garnish the Americano with the orange peel.
Americano VariationDelicate Americano Substitute Cocchi Americano or Montenegro amaro for the Campari for more delicate floral notes. Bitter Americano Substitute Cynar for the Campari for a more herbal and bitter taste.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
It’s the perfect time of year for this Americano cocktail! it’s low in alcohol, bright, fresh, and bitter—a great aperitif. I’ve noticed the rising popularity of vermouth and amaro-based drinks recently, and this is a great classic to get started with. In the past, I’ve only used Campari and one type of sweet vermouth, typically Carpano Antica formula, but I think the addition of the Dolin off-dry white vermouth helped balance the richness of the Carpano which, as the recipe states, has some vanilla notes to it. I did have to add the Dolin Blanc to my bar in order to make this Americano, which I normally don’t like to do, however, the Dolin was inexpensive and I think it could be lovely on it’s own with some soda water and a twist of lemon. I used a lemon twist here, as I forgot to get an orange at the store. Delicious nonetheless. This is a great early evening cocktail to wind down with. It just begs to be enjoyed outside as the summer sun starts it’s descent.
I couldn’t resist the idea of a nice, refreshing, long drink to sip during the time of day where the sun has finally moved off your patio deck and the world is quiet. I made two versions of this Americano–one with Campari and the other with Cynar. Both were made with Spanish Vermut Lacuesta Rojo and Dolin Dry (white) Vermouth. It’s great to find a cocktail that isn’t too sweet and is complex and adult. It’s also good to sip on a low-alcohol cocktail (Campari is probably the highest at 24%, the Cynar at 16.5%, and the vermouths 15-17.5%). We used Pellegrino in place of club soda, which would have had a little more aggressive carbonation, but I think it worked well with the Campari and with the Cynar. The addition of the vermouths (if you can’t readily source the Antica Formula, add 1/4 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract) makes the Campari much more interesting; by itself, I find it is a bit single-note. The vanilla actually was more noticeable in the Cynar version, though the Campari had a slight edge with the bitters. Pull your nice long strand orange zest right over the filled glass to capture the spray of orange essential oils off the orange. This is a perfect drink to sip on while you contemplate whether olives and cheese are a meal or finish a crossword puzzle!
Originally published August 11, 2014