Looking for a new cocktail to try out this weekend? Want to wind down with a fresh new drink? We’ve got you covered. Here’s what you should drink this weekend.
In my book, there are few more refreshing cocktail options than the Americano. Not to be confused with the coffee order, the Americano cocktail is a subtle twist on the classic Negroni, swapping in soda water for the gin. The result is a bitter, boozy aperitivo perfect for sipping on the piazza.
The origin of the Americano can be traced back to the mid-1800s in Milan, Italy. In fact, it was actually a slight twist on the Milano-Torino, which was a 50/50 of Campari and Punt e Mes, a vermouth from Turin. The name is considered to be applied to the drink thanks to its popularity among American tourists. Now, it’s a slightly under-the-radar drink that, while still popular, has been usurped by the ubiquity of spritzes.
Part of the appeal of the Americano is in its simplicity. The two spirits complement each other perfectly while the soda water adds an extra dash of refreshment. A lemon slice or orange peel is often used as a garnish but the drink itself is so well balanced that you’ll surely enjoy it no matter what.
I’m actually heading to Italy for a long vacation this weekend so you know what I’ll be drinking once I hit the streets of Milan.
Campari – The key with the Americano is choosing the right ingredients. The recipe for the Americano cocktail has always called for Campari. The granddaddy of Italian aperitivi, Campari is a bitter, bracing red spirit whose ingredient list has been closely guarded for generations. Campari is extremely easy to acquire, and we recommend keeping a bottle on your bar cart at all times. But, if you’re looking to mix things up, consider seeking out other unique aperitivi like Forthahve Red or St. Agrestis Inferno Bitter.
Sweet Red Vermouth – Seek out a high-quality vermouth for your Americano. As this cocktail is really only composed of two main ingredients, a sup-quality liquor won’t be able to hide. Punt e Mes is the traditional option for this drink but we’d also recommend Martini & Rossi or Lo-Fi.
Soda Water – The final ingredient: soda water. Once more, you can not skimp on the carbonation here. You want a soda or seltzer that packs serious bubbles. Unless you’re looking to get really creative, avoid flavored seltzers. And while tonic water might lend an interesting flavor profile, the classic recipe simply calls for carbonated water. So, we’d recommend Topo Chico, San Pellegrino, or really whatever carbonated water you prefer.
- Combine equal parts Campari and Sweet Red Vermouth (we liked 1.5 ounces each) in a highball glass with ice.
- Top with soda water and stir gently with a bar spoon or straw.
- Garnish with your choice of lemon or orange peel or slice.