Better Know a Classic: Americano


1 1/2 oz Campari
1 1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth <ideally an Italian one like Martini and Rossi, but any vermouth will do>

Combine Campari and Sweet Vermouth in a rocks or highball glass with ice, top with club soda and give a quick stir.  Garnish with orange wedge or peel

This post is the first (kind of*) in a series on classic drinks.  I’m using the term “classic” loosely here, as a way to refer to standard drinks that everyone should know.  They don’t necessarily have to be old to be considered classic, but they do have to be delicious.

* Of course I just thought of this series title, but some of my previous posts certainly meet the criteria 

This past weekend Mrs. Muddle and I celebrated our ten year anniversary.  We started the festivities at a rooftop bar on Boston Harbor in the afternoon sun looking out onto the water, and wanted something to fit the setting.  Knowing our plans would take us well into the night, I took the “it’s a marathon, not a sprint” approach to my first drink.

Enter the Americano.  You know those cheesy Corona commercials where a bunch of people in suits pop open a bottle and suddenly they are sitting around a bonfire on the beach?  Drinking an Americano is kind of like that, except way classier and more delicious.  And instead of a beach, you’re transported to a sprawling Italian palazzo lined with cyprus trees.  Point is, it’s the perfect drink for any type of al fresco imbibing.

The Americano was first created in the late 19th century in Italy, but got its present name from the popularity among Americans living in Europe during Prohibition.  If you like Negronis, you’ll love the Americano.  Hell, even if you don’t like Negronis you’ll still like the Americano.  That’s how damn tasty and refreshing it is.

Bitter Campari and sweet vermouth join forces for the ultimate day sipper (my friend referred to it as the sleeper hit of the summer).  A splash of soda keeps everything nice and bouncy and makes it a true thirst quencher.  The traditional orange twist plays off the citrus in the Campari for a wonderfully balanced drink who’s only flaw is how quickly is goes down.  Don’t let the Campari scare you.  It’s sharpest edges are smoothed out by everything else in the glass, while still providing the backbone to the whole drink.  It’s a rather sexy looking drink as well, somehow both bright and deep red at the same time.

Best part is, even if the bar tender doesn’t know what it is, it’s super easy to explain (equal parts campari and sweet vermouth, splash of soda with an orange twist).  In fact, that’s what happened to me on Saturday, but the drink didn’t suffer a bit**.  Just make sure you don’t end up with a coffee instead.

** The lime garnish instead of orange was my fault.  It was a crowded bar and couldn’t remember exactly what it called for.

3 thoughts on “Better Know a Classic: Americano

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