Americano Cocktail

By Robert Hess

A beautifully simple and refreshing drink, the Americano was popularized by American tourists in Italy in the 1960s. Try one with your antipasto!

Recipe

How to Make the Americano Cocktail

1 oz Campari

1 oz Sweet Vermouth

soda

Instructions

Stir Campari and Sweet Vermouth with ice.

Top with soda.

Comments
foodiedb 3 May 2011
6:27 pm

Hi Mr. Hess and All :)

People always talk about the right balance of ingredients in a cocktail.  In fact, Mr. Hess, I’ve heard you mention that a recipe should not call for, “the juice of one lime,” because lime sizes can vary.  So, it is somewhat confusing (especially for newer Home-Bartenders such as myself) to try and recreate a cocktail (especially a classic cocktail) when we see something such as “top with soda.”  I’ve seen Americano recipes that have 1oz of Campari, 1oz of sweet vermouth, and then soda amount ranges from 1oz. to 3oz.  So, what amount would you recommend?

Thanks,
Have a nice day :)
David

Michael S. 3 May 2011
7:08 pm

David,

I have had the same question, especially because discovering the harmony and consistency that you can achieve with specific ratios and accurate measuring is one of the things that got me into cocktails in the first place.  (It first clicked for me with the French 75.)  I seem to recall Robert elsewhere stating his thought that the extra pour required to measure soda might cause the premature loss of some carbonation, making it flatter faster.

I tend to agree, so what I’ve been doing when I make drinks with soda water is to make sure that all my other variables are relatively consistent - same measurements of the other ingredients, same size glass, and ice always right to the top before adding the soda to the top.  The ice is key, because it seems to me that if you fill the glass all the way up with ice, not only is there not much room for the soda so you can only top it off, but you get more or less the same amount of soda every time.  If there is too much soda, I adjust the other ingredients.  For example, tonight I played a bit with mojitos.  First one was too light on the rum for my taste, and too heavy on the soda.  I added more rum, which simultaneously decreased the amount of soda I could put in.  I liked the result.  Anyway, that’s what I’ve been doing.

By the way, Robert, the americano is one of my favorites.  Ordered it at a restaurant bar over the weekend after I saw they had Campari.  The bartender hadn’t heard of it, but it’s such a straightforward drink that he made me a fine one after I gave him the recipe.

Robert Hess 4 May 2011
5:37 am

David, I wholeheartedly agree. The “top with soda” is one of those inexactitudes which can be bothersome, and I should have been more perscriptive here. Unlike lemon juice however, soda water doesn’t have a flavor which can quickly overpower with slight overpours. Adding more or less soda, to a certain point, will just change the overall flavor intensity.

Here, I am adding perhaps 1 1/2 ounces of soda water to the drink.

And yes Michael, I feel that “measuring” out the soda water would increase the de-carbonation of the soda, but it would still be appropriate for me to at least provide a rough indicator of how much soda I am adding.

That said, I think it is important for people to not get “too” caught up in the exactitude of a recipe. Rarely is there “one” recipe for anything. It is important instead for people to understand the way the different ingredients come together, what the core “definition” of a particular drink (or dish) is, and then what are the flexible “precisions” that can be applied to it.

-Robert

blair frodelius 6 May 2011
7:49 am

When I was first trying to make classic drinks at home that called for club soda, ginger ale, tonic water, or champagne I would often experiment with ratios.  I’ve generally found (at least to my taste) that flavored carbonated products work well in a 3-1 ratio.  With unflavored products, about 1.5 - 2 ounce pour to top off the drink is usually fine.  Ice is the other important factor here tho’.  The more surface area the ice has, the slower the drink will dilute.  I tend to use large square cubes (like those made with a Kold-Draft machine).  They fit well in a Collins glass, Moscow Mule mug or Highball glass.  Plus, they look more refined than rounded tray ice.

Overall tho’, as Robert says, there are no right or wrong measurements of ingredients in a cocktail, other than what you or the customer prefer.

Cheers!

Blair
http://goodspiritsnews.wordpress.com

photococktail 9 May 2011
4:41 am

Thanks, Robert, Americano is such a great cocktail.
At least for me, absolutely fan of Campari and of sweet (and dry, too) vermouth.
As for the vermouth, I see you are using Martini. Don’t you think that it would be much better using a more “homemade” one?
I mean, at least in Spain where I leave, sweet vermouths are easy too find and are much more flavourful than Cinzano or Martini.
Cheers for the Americano!
Alberto
http://photococktail.wordpress.com/

Robert Hess 9 May 2011
6:01 am

Alberto,
There are lots of other wonderful vermouth’s on the market, Carpano Antiqua, Dolin, as well as various botique brands that seem to crop up from different producers. I highly recommend that folks try different brands to see which ones they like, as well as how the different characteristics might change the drink from one brand to another.

I use Martini & Rossi primarily because it is a very easy brand for folks to find, and while not the “best” sweet vermouth out there (which can be a highly subjective statement, especially for different cocktails), it is a very good brand which generally works well in all recipes.

-Robert

Ben Golden 19 Sep 2012
10:55 pm

This drink is a rich, intense experience with Carpano Antica.  It absorbs and balances the bitterness of Campari in a way much different than other vermouths.  I’ve been using the Americano as a way to use up my bottle of Carpano at the end of its shelf life, and now I’m starting to really enjoy this!

Stefan Herzog 20 Jan 2014
8:37 am

A quick thought about measuring soda without increasing the de-carbonation: You can use a kitchen scale.

Luckily 1 ml water weighs roughly 1 g (http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=1ml+water), that is, 1 fl oz is roughly 30 g (http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=1+fl+oz+water).

This can be used in two ways: Either to measure a specific amount of soda into the glass or to reverse-engineer how much soda goes into a glass given typical amounts of ingredients and ice. Once you are calibrated to the type of glass+ingredients+ice you don’t need the scale anymore (and know roughly how much soda went in).

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