Classic Americano cocktail recipe

By Timo Torner / Last updated on March 20, 2023

Delicious and refreshing: The Americano is a three-ingredient aperitif cocktail made of Campari, Sweet Vermouth, and soda water.
Classic Americano cocktail

Hearing about the Americano cocktail, one could think of a drink somehow related to Americano coffee. But the classic Americano cocktail couldn't be farther away from that. 

It's a traditional aperitif cocktail based on Campari, and it's a drink James Bond frequently ordered in the books and movies - besides the famous Martini

In fact, it's even the first drink 007 orders in Casino Royale. And unlike the Vesper cocktail, invented specifically for the Bond books, the classic Americano cocktail existed long before that.

The classic Americano cocktail ingredients

As with every cocktail relying on three ingredients only, quality is essential. It is a complete no-brainer for the Campari part. 

The deep red bitter, herbal, and fruity liqueur is a fixture and the star of many bitter cocktails. It adds a delicious and intense bitter taste to every drink.

Americano Cocktail

The second ingredient of the Americano cocktail is the Sweet Vermouth. My favorite is the Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth. I also recommend it for making my Negronis. 

Yet, if you prefer another Sweet Vermouth, that will do, too. Just make sure you use a bottle that has not been open for too long and ideally comes chilled directly from the fridge. 

The same goes for soda water. It should be well chilled with good carbonation to cut through the Vermouth and Campari mix. To give the drink the perfect finish, a slice of orange or orange peel works a treat in an Americano cocktail.

How much alcohol is in an Americano cocktail?

A bit stronger than a beer but lighter than wine. The ABV of a classic Americano cocktail is around 4.5 to 9% ABV or 9 to 18 proof. 

With this relatively low alcohol content, the drink is a beautiful and refreshing summer cocktail. However, if you should be in the mood for a boozier alternative, the classic Negroni has around 24% ABV (48 proof).

The history of the Americano cocktail

The very first time the Americano cocktail got served was in Gaspare Campari's bar in Milan. There, also the birthplace of the Campari liqueur, this riff on the Milano-Torino has been created.

A Milano-Torino is a simple mixed drink made with only Vermouth and Campari. And to make this cocktail more sippable and refreshing, Gaspare added just a splash of soda water. 

This lighter version was allegedly especially favored by American tourists, hence the name: Americano cocktail.

What is the difference between an Americano and a Negroni?

Many say that the Americano is a softer version of a Negroni. Easier to drink, less boozy, and therefore a better fit for hot summer days. 

But it was the other way around since the Americano is the forerunner of the classic Negroni as we know it today. And frankly, both are perfect for hot summer days.

The story goes that Count Negroni's favorite drink was initially the Americano. And then, one day, when visiting his favorite bar in Florence, he asked for a stronger version, and the barkeeper delivered: By replacing the soda water with Gin, the Negroni was born.

Classic Americano cocktail

Classic Americano

Refreshing & simple cocktail from Italy.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Campari, Sweet vermouth
Servings: 1
Calories: 178kcal
Cost: $2.50


  • 1 Jigger
  • 1 Bar spoon


  • 1.5 oz Campari
  • 1.5 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 splash Club soda
  • 1 twisted orange peel or orange slice - for garnish


  • Use a Highball glass and cool it down with ice.
  • Add the Campari first, then Sweet Vermouth.
    1.5 oz Campari, 1.5 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • Gently stir the mix before filling it up with soda water.
    1 splash Club soda
  • Garnish the cocktail with a twisted orange peel or half a slice of orange.
    1 twisted orange peel or orange slice


Serving: 4.25ozCalories: 178kcalCarbohydrates: 20.5gProtein: 0.05gSodium: 7mgPotassium: 1mgSugar: 20.5gVitamin A: 8.2IUCalcium: 1.5mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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