The Americano cocktail is not a style of coffee, despite the name reminding you of Americano coffee. But it does share some similarity, and we’re here to talk about that.
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What is Americano?
The Americano is a surprisingly old cocktail with a surprising tie to a very famous secret agent, the one and only 007. Ian Fleming is credited with taking several cocktails into mainstream, including the classic Martini, Vesper, and apparently the Americano. However the cocktail is older than James Bond’s character, some say as old as the late 1800s.
There are several versions of how this cocktail came to be, some claiming it’s the ancestor of the Negroni, and other claiming it’s actually a tweak American tourists asked for when ordering a Negroni in Italy – add water (sparkling water in this case). This stems from the Americano coffee story, when G.I.s asked for water in their espressos when they were stationed in Italy, to make it more similar to their beloved filter coffee.
Now whether any or all of these origin stories are true, I can’t say; I wasn’t there at the time. The Americano became established as a well respected cocktail, and you’ll find it on many menus throughout the world.
- 1.5 oz orange bitter aperitif
- 1.5 oz sweet vermouth
- club soda to top
- Build in rocks glass filled with ice.
- Stir lightly before serving.
- This is easy to turn into a highball or keep as a lowball, depending on your preferences. Just adjust the amount of club soda.
When is this drink best ?
I find the Americano to be a very nice winter and fall cocktail. It’s a variation on the Negroni and Negroni Sbagliato, which I also think work best in the cold season, mainly due to the dark and moody colors, the orange notes, and overall vibe.
Americano can easily be made longer, so it could be served during and after dinner. I could see it at an office party, a Christmas party, a birthday party in your backyard, anywhere that’s both casual and fun. It could also work great as a clubbing drink, since it’s easy to put together and looks great.
My thoughts on Americano
I liked the Americano, the orange aperitif and sweet vermouth always go great together but they need something bubbly to lighten the mood – like club soda. Now, club soda or sparkling water are both plain in flavor, so you don’t need a lot otherwise the cocktail will just taste like a thinned out Negroni.
That being said, I think the Americano is a good cocktail, but I prefer the Negroni Sbagliato instead for carbonation and extra flavor.
If you like, you might also like…
Classic Negroni – orange aperitif, sweet vermouth, and gin make a very strong drink
Negroni Sbagliato – a Negroni with sparkling wine instead of gin
Aperol Spritz – Aperol base, with champagne and sparkling water
Notes, substitutes, and tips
You can scale the bitterness up or down by using Campari or Aperol. Campari is more bitter, while Aperol is bitter-sweet and goes down easier. This is entirely up to preference.
The sweet vermouth has to be fresh, since it actually loses flavor very fast (for a spirit). Always keep you vermouth (of any sort) in the fridge, and use it within 30 days of opening, otherwise the taste will change.
Express a bit of orange peel into the drink before serving for extra flavor.