Americano Cocktail

Here’s how to make the very best Americano cocktail! This classic three ingredient cocktail is bubbly and refreshing, starring Campari and vermouth.

Americano cocktail

Here’s a light and refreshing classic cocktail that’s perfect for summer afternoons: the Americano cocktail! It’s the original inspiration for the Negroni and is even better, in our opinion. It’s bitter, complex and bubbly all at once! Starring Campari and vermouth, it’s both sophisticated and carefree at the same time. In this recipe we’ve made some improvements on the “classic” definition of an Americano to make it even better. Here are all our secrets!

PS If you’re not into bitter flavors, try some of our sweeter bubbly drinks: Tom Collins, Southside Fizz, or Classic Mojito.

What’s in an Americano cocktail?

Despite its name, the Americano cocktail is a classic Italian cocktail! It’s equal parts Camari and vermouth with soda water, actually dates back to the 1860’s. It was invented in a bar called Caffe Campari in Milan, Italy: the owner of which was the inventor of Campari himself! Apparently the drink became named the “Americano” because of its popularity among American tourists at the turn of the 20th century.

The Americano is a classic cocktail that’s on the list of International Bartender Association’s IBA official cocktails. This means that there’s an “official” definition, which is:

  • Campari
  • Sweet vermouth
  • Soda water
Americano: Campari and vermouth

What makes this the best Americano…more soda water!

The official definition of an Americano is equal parts Campari and vermouth (2 tablespoons each), with a splash of soda water. Alex and I tried that formulation, and it was very bitter! So bitter, in fact, that we decided we didn’t like the Americano.

But, after a little more research we found that some versions of the Americano have much more soda water. So, it’s more like a bubbly drink that has a nice nuance of bitter Campari. We tried this ratio and loved it! Instead of drinking a cup of straight bitter (blech!), it’s light and refreshing. Here’s the ratio we found we liked:

  • 2 tablespoons each Campari & vermouth
  • 1/2 cup soda water
Negroni
The Negroni and Boulevardier are close relatives of the Americano

Cousin drinks to the Americano

The Americano is closely related to a few drinks:

  • The Negroni: the Americano is actually the basis for it! Apparently a guy named Count Negroni in Florence, Italy ordered a stronger version of an Americano in the 1920’s: “an Americano with gin”. Full disclosure: Alex and I aren’t huge Negroni fans, because it can be so intensely bittersweet. Instead we prefer the Mezcal Negroni, or…
  • The Boulevardier! This is a spin on the Negroni that uses whiskey instead of gin. I typically prefer gin to whiskey, but there the sweet notes of the whiskey balance out the drink perfectly! Instead of a two-note flavor, you get a roundness that’s full and rich. Or use dry vermouth in this drink and make it an Old Pal.

More about Campari

Campari is what makes a Negroni and an Americano. But what is it? Campari is an Italian bitter with a bright red jewel-toned color. Campari tastes bitter, fruity, and spicy all at once. It’s is infused with different herbs and fruits (part of a secret recipe). Fun fact: Campari was originally colored so brightly red due to a dye made of crushed insects! That’s no longer in the modern recipe, so it shouldn’t deter you from grabbing a bottle. It’s easy to find at most liquor stores.

Americano with campari

More about vermouth

What’s vermouth? Vermouth is a fortified wine, meaning liquor has been added (usually brandy). There are two main types of vermouth: sweet (usually red) and dry (usually white). Sweet vermouth is subtly sweet and spicy, with a hit of bitter on the back end.

Sweet vermouth is used in many classic cocktails: most famously the Manhattan and the Negroni. It’s also in this Hanky Panky, another 1920’s style gin cocktail. You can also drink it straight up as an aperitif. Dry white vermouth is used in martinis, like the Classic Martini, Dirty Martini and Cucumber Martini.

Make sure to store vermouth in the refrigerator. It will stay good for up to 3 months! Here are all our favorite Vermouth Cocktails to use up a bottle.

Americano cocktail

When to serve an Americano cocktail

The Americano cocktail is bubbly and refreshing, which makes it perfect for summer occasions. It’s perfect for sipping as a:

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Americano cocktail

Best Americano Cocktail


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Here’s how to make the very best Americano cocktail! This classic three ingredient cocktail is bubbly and refreshing, starring Campari and vermouth.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) Campari
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) sweet vermouth
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) soda water
  • For the garnish: Lemon or orange wedge

Instructions

  1. In a highball glass, stir together the Campari and vermouth. Add ice and top with soda water.
  2. Stir lightly and garnish with a lemon or orange wedge.

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Cocktail

Keywords: Americano cocktail

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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