The Americano cocktail was invented around the mid 1860s in Milan, Italy by Gaspare Campari. Gaspare ran around Italy trying to sell his bitter aperitif till he met his soon to be wife and settled down in Milan. Settling down in Milan he opened up Gaspare’s Bar where he sold his aperitif, which he also named after himself, and began mixing up the house cocktail called the Milano-Torino. Milano because that is where he produced Campari and Torino because that is the town that produced Italian sweet vermouth. As time went on the drink became a huge hit and the drink of choice for many traveling Americans. By the early 1900s the Milano-Torino became better known as an Americano. It is considered the predecessor to the Negroni since the Negroni was invented as a strong Americano. The difference between the Americano and its more famous younger brother the Negroni is the Negroni Swaps the 120ml (4 oz) of soda water for 30 mls (1 oz) of gin. This changes the cocktail from being a refreshing and light highball to a boozy and more bitter lowball cocktail.
Variations of the Americano include: The Negroni, The Boulevardier, The Man About Town, and the Patricia. These cocktails have a similar flavor profile to the americano but are very different in style. They are all short strong drinks while the Americano is tall light and refreshing. There is nothing really quite like the americano but these 4 are the most similar you will find.
The Americano taste is a very refreshing since the soda water helps cut the bitter and herbal Aperitifs. The flavor is still very medicinal and not for everyone. If you are someone who like medicinal or herbal flavors then you may like this, but if you are someone who sticks to rum and cokes, adioses, or mules then this may not be for you. If you are curious about trying Campari then this would be the drink to start with.
The Most Important Ingredient
The most important ingredient in this is the sweet vermouth. There is only one Campari and soda water is all the same but the sweet vermouth you use will make a big difference. There are not really any bad sweet vermouths and the cheaper stuff works fine but there are a few amazing ones out there too. I usually buy smaller 375ml bottles of sweet vermouth because it is wine based and like all wines it goes bad after a little while. It has a slightly longer shelf life than normal red wine but not much more. When I buy the larger 750ml bottles I find half of it ends up spoiled before I finish using it. So instead of spending $7 for a large normal bottle of sweet vermouth that you will end up wasting half of, spend $13 for an amazing bottle of sweet vermouth that’s half the size but you will actually finish. Once you start using really nice sweet vermouth you will never want to use anything else. It makes a very noticeable difference for not that much more money.