Negroni lovers! If you’re looking for a refreshing bittersweet aperitif that’s low on alcohol, try an Americano. This super simple, 3-ingredient cocktail can be adjusted to your tastes and is a flavorful way to wake up your tastebuds before a meal.
Many think the drink’s name is a reference to the need to water down strong, bitter Italian amaro to make it palatable to Americans. In fact, there is no clear, documented history behind the name. It may simply be a verbal embellishment on “amaro.”
Regardless of where the name comes from, lovers of the Americano can all agree that this bittersweet aperitif is a delicious way to kick off happy hour or relax with a low ABV, day-drinking sipper.
Campari: A Key Ingredient
The Americano consists of 3 ingredients: Campari, sweet vermouth, and soda water. Its iconic bright red hue is thanks to the Campari, effectively making that the star ingredient.
What is Campari? A member of the amaro family of liqueurs, Campari has been bottled in Italy since the 1800s and has become increasingly popular in the last few decades. This bittersweet Italian aperitif consists of a blend of herbs and spices (proprietary, of course) and tastes of citrus fruits, baking spices, and bitter herbs.
Originally, the red color was from crushed cochineal—a bug!—but is now made from artificial dyes, making it a safe option for vegan drinkers.
What Kind of Vermouth Works Best?
Traditionally in Italy, the Americano is made using Punt e Mes, an Italian vermouth that is considerably more bitter than other red, or sweet, vermouths. For this drink, most any sweet vermouth will work.
I actually go French in my recipe with Dolin Rouge. It’s less bitter and sweeter, balancing out the Campari so that the cocktail is not overwhelmingly bitter.
How to Serve an Americano
While I’ve seen Americanos served in rocks glasses, I prefer to keep this drink “long style.” A highball glass filled with ice gives a little more room to add in the soda water.
To finish the drink, try an orange slice. It complements the citrus component of the Campari and provides a subtle fresh aroma to the drink.
Chill your soda water (storing it in the fridge is best) before making your cocktail to prevent watering down your drink with fast-melting ice cubes.
1 1/2 ounces Campari
1 1/2 ounces sweet vermouth
2 to 3 ounces soda water, chilled
1 slice orange, for garnish
Prepare a glass:
Fill a highball glass with ice.
Add the ingredients:
Pour the Campari, sweet vermouth, and 2 ounces soda water into the glass. Stir gently with a long spoon or straw to combine.
Garnish and serve:
Taste, adding more soda water to taste, if needed. Garnish with the orange slice and serve.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 20g||7%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||1%|
|Total Sugars 17g|
|Vitamin C 10mg||50%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|