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Makes 1 Servings

April 2014

Ingredients

  • 1½ oz. Campari

  • 1½ oz. sweet vermouth

  • Club soda

  • Orange wedge

Recipe Preparation

  • Combine Campari and vermouth in a highball glass. Fill glass with ice, then top off with club soda. Garnish with orange wedge.

Recipe by Andrew Knowlton

,

Photos by Zach DeSart

Reviews Section

Reviews

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Americano

Don’t let the name fool you: the Americano’s heritage is distinctly Italian. Born from the Milano-Torino (equal parts Campari from Milan and red vermouth from Torino over ice) in the 19 th century, this cocktail—topped up with soda water and garnished with an orange twist—is believed by some to have been the favored beverage for American tourists seeking “la dolce vita” in Italy during Prohibition. Though its heavyweight cousin, the Negroni, may have more currency in today’s cocktail world, the Americano isn’t far behind.


Pour the Campari and vermouth into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice cubes.

Garnish with a lemon or orange slice or twist. Serve and enjoy.

  • Pour a quality clear soda water without sweeteners or extra flavors. Club soda is the most popular option, though seltzer and mineral water make fine Americanos as well.
  • Ensure your sweet vermouth is fresh. The fortified wine does not have the long shelf life of distilled spirits and will go stale just three months after the bottle is opened.
  • Switch to a highball glass and add more soda for a tall thirst quencher.

When Was the Americano Invented?

A classic cocktail, the Americano was first served in the 1860s at Gaspare Campari's bar in Milan, Italy. It was originally named "Milano-Torino" because of the origins of its two primary ingredients: Campari calls Milan home and the sweet vermouth was made in the style of Torino, Italy. The cocktail was later renamed because of its popularity among American tourists around the turn of the 20th century and prior to Prohibition.

What's the Difference Between the Americano and Negroni?

Campari is best-known for two famous cocktails: the Americano and Negroni. Both drinks use equal parts Campari and sweet vermouth, but the Negroni does not include soda, opting for an equal measure of gin instead. The Americano actually spurred the creation of the Negroni in the 1920s. It's said that Count Camillo Negroni ordered "an Americano with gin"   while at a cafe in Florence, Italy. It's unclear if that story is true, however.


Intermediate: The Vesper

"Three measures of Gordon&aposs, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet," James Bond once instructed a bartender in Casino Royale. While Lillet is still around, some bartenders think Cocchi Americano is actually more similar to the Lillet made in Bond’s day — so it’s perfect in Bond’s favorite Vesper. We’re changing the formula a bit, because just one of those Bond-style drinks is an astounding amount of alcohol for a single cocktail—unless you’re in MI-6, we guess.

Instructions: In a mixing glass with ice, combine 1 1/2 ounces of gin, 1/2 ounce of vodka, and 1 ounce of Cocchi. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a big lemon peel, twisting it over the surface of the drink to spray its citrus oils.


Next, let’s talk about the espresso!

How to make an Americano? Start with espresso. Simply using strong coffee will not do! This means you’ll need the following:

  • Espresso roast coffee: This is important to get the right dark, bitter flavor. Espresso roast is simply very, very dark roast coffee.
  • Espresso machine, espresso maker, or Aeropress: There are several ways to make an espresso! We use an espresso machine, which sits on a countertop. You can use a small manual espresso maker too: it’s cheaper and portable. Or you can use an Aeropress: it’s our least favorite option for flavor, but it’s the cheapest. Go to our Aeropress Espresso recipe.

How to Make an Americano

This delightful summer cocktail was the precursor to the Negroni.

  1. Pour Campari and sweet vermouth into a highball glass filled with ice.
  2. Top with club soda.
  3. Garnish with an orange twist.

An Americano cocktail is a Negroni that soaked up a little too much Italian sunshine, and now, woozy and contented, would like to cool off with something not stiff, just rejuvenating. It's a Negroni that decided to take it easy this weekend. Which is to say, it's a Negroni sans hard liquor.

The Americano is made with equal parts Campari and sweet vermouth, and a splash of club soda&mdashjust liqueur, no gin. If you like Campari, then it's a dependable drink choice, because while the vermouth adds sweetness and the club soda makes it sippable, the Americano leans heavily on Campari's bitterly fruity flavors. And to clarify, there is no coffee involved in an Americano cocktail. This is how you make one.

A Little Background

The very first drink that James Bond ever ordered wasn't a Vesper Martini. It was an Americano. In Casino Royale, the original Bond book written by Ian Fleming in 1953, he orders "excellent" Americanos to cut the tedium of traveling. In a later short story, From a View to a Kill, Bond orders Americanos at cafes&mdash"One cannot drink seriously in French cafés. Out of doors on a pavement in the sun is no place for vodka or whisky or gin," Fleming wrote&mdashstipulating that Perrier was the best soda water to improve a "poor" drink. Bond may have liked an Americano, but it seems as if he didn't exactly respect it.

But the Americano dates back much further than Bond's European romps. It is said that it was first invented in the 1860s by a Milanese bartender names Gaspare Campari, who also, you guessed, created the aperitif Campari. Back then, it was called the Milano-Torino (or "Mi-To"), and it didn't have soda water. The name credited its ingredients' native Italian cities: Campari from Milan and vermouth from Turin. But at Campari's bar, the "Mi-To" soon evolved into the more bubbly Americano, or so they say.

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If You Like This, Try These

The Negroni was created after the Americano, because an Italian count wanted his traditional Americano with a kick. If you can relate, then by all means, drink a Negroni. The Rosita is an update on the Negroni, with two kinds of vermouth and mezcal instead of gin. Or get to know your other bitter apertifs and digestifs beyond Campari many taste good on the rocks or with a splash of soda.


Americano

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 5 M
  • 5 M
  • Makes 1 cocktail

Special Equipment: Collins glass (optional)

Ingredients US Metric

  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 1/2 ounce Antica Formula sweet vermouth (red vermouth with vanilla flavoring)
  • 1/2 ounce Dolin sweet vermouth (white vermouth)
  • Ice
  • Club soda
  • Twist or strip orange peel, preferably organic, for garnish

Directions

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.

Tuxedo Variations

  • Delicate Americano

Substitute Cocchi Americano or Montenegro amaro for the Campari for more delicate floral notes.

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!

#LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


Cousin drinks to the Americano

The Americano is closely related to a few drinks:

  • TheNegroni: the Americano is actually the basis for it! Apparently a guy named Count Negroni in Florence, Italy ordered a stronger version of an Americano in the 1920’s: “an Americano with gin”. Full disclosure: Alex and I aren’t huge Negroni fans, because it can be so intensely bittersweet. Instead we prefer the Mezcal Negroni, or…
  • The Boulevardier! This is a spin on the Negroni that uses whiskey instead of gin. I typically prefer gin to whiskey, but there the sweet notes of the whiskey balance out the drink perfectly! Instead of a two-note flavor, you get a roundness that’s full and rich. Or use dry vermouth in this drink and make it an Old Pal.

How to Make an Americano Coffee with Coffee Machine

An Americano coffee is easily found in every café near you, but you can always enjoy the Americano, but it will be more perfect if you can make it yourself. It is quite easy to make because you just need to prepare 1:1 equal part of espresso and water. But, if you prefer a lighter taste, you can double the water for your Americano.

One of the most important parts of making a tasty Americano coffee lies in the water. You might think that you can simply brew the water without considering anything else. But, it is wrong since you need to pay attention to the water temperature.

The espresso is brewed in different temperature, but mostly it is around 200°F. If you want your Americano to taste perfect, you need to boil the water with a higher temperature or at least over 200°F.

You need to prepare the boiled water beforehand, but don’t pour the water over the espresso shot. Some people believe that it will make the Americano tastier, but in fact, it doesn’t. It is better to pour the espresso over the water because it will help to preserve the crema on top of the drink. In other words, the taste will be richer.

Before you make the Americano, you need to prepare the espresso ground. There are two different ways to do it, by grinding your own coffee beans or purchasing the ground espresso. If you plan to grind your own coffee beans, you need to make sure that the espresso ground has a fine texture.

After you have had the espresso ground, you need to measure it based on how much Americano you want to serve. You can add one to two tablespoons for a single shot and three to four tablespoons for a double shot.

To start making your espresso, you need to put the espresso ground you have measured on the portafilter of the espresso machine. To make a rich espresso, you need to make sure that you tamp the espresso ground firmly. You also need to make sure that the surface is flat so that the espresso ground won’t be processed quickly and lose its rich taste.

After you have done with the portafilter, you need to start making your espresso shot. But, before inserting your portafilter to the espresso machine, you need to make sure that the machine is clean by turning the machine on and off quickly. Then, you just need to attach the portafilter to the machine to start brewing your espresso.

After you have done all of those processes, you can start making your own Americano coffee. All you need to do here is to pour the espresso over the hot water. Remember, you cannot stir it because it will affect the taste of the Americano.


Conclusion

The traditional café Americano is a delicious coffee drink that’s simple and quick to make. With a single or double shot of espresso and an equal amount of hot water, you can make a yummy Americano at home in a matter of a few seconds.

And while we enjoy our espresso drinks straight, go ahead and add sugar, steamed milk, or whatever other extras you prefer. How you take your coffee is a personal preference. Make it the way you like it, no matter what anyone else has to say.

If you ever find yourself rolling through the gorgeous Sonoma county area, stop in at Taylor Lane and let one of our expert baristas make your Americano for you!


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