The Americano Cocktail

Americano Cocktail

Well, I’m back to James Bond again. I’ve come to him late in life – or is it just that Daniel Craig came to Bond late in my life? Either way, it is time for L’Americano – the first cocktail 007 ordered in Casino Royale. This cocktail, originally known as a Milano-Torino – for the Campari which came from Milano and the Cinzano vermouth that came from Torino – underwent a name change when it became a favorite of American tourists escaping the deprivations of the Volstead Act. Sort of a Campari cocktail with training wheels, it is composed of 1 ounce each of Campari and sweet vermouth over ice in a Rocks glass topped off with club soda (the training wheels.) I prefer the drink in a Highball glass; served thus I can add more club soda. It just suits me better that way. And don’t skip the citrus. It rounds out the drink, tying the components together. Some prefer a twist of lemon peel, I prefer an orange wheel.

 

Vermouth LabelCampari Label

The big variable in this drink is the vermouth – it’s got to be Italian style, a sweet vermouth, a rosso, but after that you are on your own. While the original was made with Cinzano, these days many cocktail masters insist upon Punt e Mes, its flavor profile canted as it is, to the bitter. That’s way too much bitter for me.

Not too long ago I was in K&L Wines in Hollywood, and David told me that The House of Cocchi, to honor its 120th anniversary, is once again producing the original Vermouth di Torino. Well, I just had to take some home. And this is where knowing the people in shops pays off. I love this vermouth, and had I not spoken to David, I would have been altogether unaware of it. I discovered a rich, old fashioned taste and a bitterness that did not overpower me. The Cocchi Vermouth made its way right into this classic aperitivo cocktail. Fittingly so, I might add, as it is produced in the Asti region near Torino, thus holding true to the original spirit of the libation.

I am altogether seduced by the ritual and romance of cocktail making. The exact measure is poured perfectly with an economy of motion – not like the fancy flourish of bottle tossing bartenders seen in competitions. No, I am talking about a Barman, a man of quiet precision. His skill and exactitude rival those of the finest pastry chefs. Watch him. The best part is the end when he places the finished drink on a cloth cocktail napkin and with his fingertips pushes it silently across the mahogany bar top to his customer. He rests his hands at his side, giving the barest hint of a smile and the tiniest bow of his head. That’s a Barman. That’s Romance.

Americano Cocktail Ingredients

 

L’Americano

1 ounce Campari
1 ounce sweet vermouth
club soda or Perrier
ice
lemon twist or orange wheel to garnish

Fill a Rocks or Highball glass with ice. Pour Campari and vermouth over. Top off with club soda or Perrier. Stir with a bar spoon, and garnish with a lemon twist or orange wheel.

Americano Cocktail

Note: You can click on any picture for a larger image, and to see a slide show with even more pictures!

I have no affiliation with any product, manufacturer, or site mentioned in this article.

Harmonie Barware by Baccarat courtesy of Fernworks Antiques, Los Angeles, CA

Vermouth BottleCompari Bottle

Campari

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4 Comments

  1. Comment by sippitysup:

    Love Americano’s. Love the story too. GREG

  2. Comment by kathy erteman:

    I love the idea of this cocktail in all ways.Great for the scorching summer days we have been experiencing. Beautiful photographs !

    • Comment by Adri:

      Thank you, thank you! I am so glad you like it. Over the last six months or so, I have developed quite a taste for Campari. I hope you try this one – and if you do, let’s see a photo for my Readers’ Gallery. I have no doubt you will come up with a spectacular look!! Keep cool. I can hardly believe it is hotter back east than out here. Your weather definitely calls for something like this. Enjoy!

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