Hearing about an Americano cocktail, some might think of a drink somehow related to Americano coffee. But the classic Americano cocktail couldn't be farther away from that. It's a classic cocktail based on Campari, and it's also another 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, which had been invented specifically for the Bond books, the classic Americano cocktail exists for a long time already.
The history of the Americano cocktail
The very first time the Americano cocktail got served was in Gaspare Campari's bar in Milan. There, at the birthplace of the Campari liqueur, this riff on the Milano-Torino has been created.
A Milano-Torino is a simple mixed drink based on Vermouth and Campari. To make this cocktail more sippable and refreshing, Gaspare added just a splash of soda water. This lighter version was said to be especially popular amongst American tourists, hence the name Americano cocktail.
What is the difference between an Americano and a Negroni?
I often hear people 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 if you ask me, both are not only perfect for hot days, but the Americano has also been the forerunner of the classic Negroni as we know it today.
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.
The classic Americano cocktail ingredients
As I keep saying: with every cocktail that's only relying on three ingredients, the quality of those is essential. That is a complete no-brainer for the Campari part. This bitter herbal and fruity liqueur is readily available everywhere and the star of many bitter cocktails. It adds a delicious and intense bitter taste to every drink.
The second ingredient of the Americano cocktail is the Sweet Vermouth. My favorite is the Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth. I also use it regularly for making my Negronis. But if you prefer another Sweet Vermouths, that will do, as well. Just make sure you use a freshly opened bottle that's ideally coming chilled directly from the fridge.
The same goes for the soda water. It should be well chilled with a good sparkling to cut through the heaviness of the Vermouth and Campari mix. To finish the whole thing off, a slice of orange or orange peel works a treat in an Americano cocktail.
- 1 Jigger
- 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.
- Gently stir the mix before filling it up with soda water.
- Garnish the cocktail with a twisted orange peel or half a slice of orange.
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 at around 9 or 18 proof. And with the relatively low alcohol content, the drink is a beautiful and refreshing summer cocktail. If you should be in the mood for a boozier alternative, a classic Negroni has around 24% ABV (48 proof).