Before some innovative barista added hot water to espresso and called it an Americano, there was a cocktail by the same name. This drink was invented in 19th-century Milan at a bar run by the inventor of Campari, and it only has three ingredients: Campari, sweet vermouth, and seltzer. It’s a tall, refreshing beverage, and it’s a great introduction to the world of amaro (bitter Italian spirits such as Campari). The Americano is also the precursor to the Negroni - although it has a significantly lower ABV than that cocktail, so If you’re looking for something you can drink all afternoon without browning out and waking up on your neighbor’s stoop at 6pm, it’s an ideal choice.
Makes 1 Americano
- 1.5 ounces Campari
- 1.5 ounces sweet vermouth
- 4 ounces seltzer
Step One: Prep Your Glassware
We’re going to build this cocktail right in the glass, so start by filling a highball to the rim with ice.
Step Two: Sweet Vermouth
Every sweet vermouth is slightly different, and it’s important that you find one that you enjoy. We like Carpano Antica Formula for its subtle vanilla notes and depth of flavor, but Dolin Rouge is great as well. You can even use something like Cocchi Vermouth di Torino or plain old Martini and Rossi. Add 1.5 ounces sweet vermouth to your highball.
Step Three: Campari
Next, we need a bit of the fire-engine-red amaro known as Campari. It’ll bring some orange-peel flavor to the drink, and the bitterness will help balance the sugar in the sweet vermouth. Pour 1.5 ounces into your highball.
Step Four: Seltzer
Finally, top with seltzer. It should be about 4 ounces, but if it’s a little more or a little less, that’s fine. Garnish with an orange slice or thick orange twist, and take a sip. If your drink tastes like a fizzy Negroni without the gin, that isn’t a coincidence. The Negroni is the direct descendant of the Americano, and if you’re a fan of one drink, there’s about a 99% chance you’ll like the other.