The Americano

One of us had an evening engagement so this week we were looking for something “light.” With only about 9% alcohol, the classic Americano fit the bill. Turns out it was first served in the 1860s at Gaspare Campari’s bar in Milan and originally named “Milano-Torino” because of the origins of its two ingredients. Then the cocktail was apparently renamed the Americano around the turn of the 20th century  because of its popularity among American tourists.

The Americano also spurred the creation another famous Campari cocktail in the 20s. Supposedly the Negroni was invented when one Count Camillo Negroni ordered “an Americano with gin.”


  • 1 1/2 ounces Campari
  • 1 1/2 ounces sweet vermouth
  • 3 ounces  club soda  to fill glass

Add Campari and vermouth into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice cubes and top with soda. Garnish with a lemon twist or orange slice (we used lime).

The verdict: This bitter concoction was met with lip-smacking delight by two out of four. The other two were divided between “meh” and “blech.” It’s definitely an acquired taste but perfect for the situation, so it’s likely we’ll give the Americano another try someday.

 Ian Fleming

The Americano is the first cocktail ordered by  James Bond in “Casino Royale,” Fleming’s first 007 spy novel. It made a few appearances in the series and, in the short story, “A View to Kill”  Bond observes that “One cannot seriously drink in French cafes” and that gin, whiskey, and vodka have no place on sunny sidewalks. In this venue, “Bond always had the same thing: an Americano.” However, the Vesper soon became the more famous Bond drink and the Americano was left forgotten.

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