Let’s end 2016 with a glass of cheer. Nothing too terribly strong, for I’m afraid we shall all need to keep our wits about us for the next four years. So I suggest we celebrate the holidays with a bitter-sweet Italian cocktail called an Americano.
Most mixologists agree that Milan’s Caffè Camparino served the first Americano in the 1860’s. Originally named the Milano-Torino cocktail after the Italian cities that produced the drink’s ingredients (Milan’s Campari and Turin’s Martini Rosso sweet vermouth), the blend proved so popular with American tourists that it earned the nickname Americano. So says legend. Others opine that Americano derives from the word amaro, which is Italian for ‘bitter’. Either way, the drink tastes fantastic and is utterly refreshing.
The following recipe comes from the 2012 Polpo: A Venetian Cookbook (Of Sorts) by Russell Norman.
30ml sweet vermouth
Use a large tumbler filled with ice and pour the vermouth and Campari over the rocks. Top up with soda. Add the orange slice.
My current vermouth of choice for an Americano: Carpano Antica Formula. Just how antica is this formula? The mixture originated in 1786. If you want to experiment with the bitter in your Americano, pour Aperol or Gran Classico Bitter in place of Campari.
Once you master the Americano, you’re set to make a number of related cocktails. Swap out the Americano’s soda water for gin and you have a Negroni. Accidently pour prosecco instead of gin into your Negroni and you’ve made a Negroni Sbagliato. (Sbaliato means ‘wrong’ in Italian.)