Confessions of a Mixologist: Americano, 'mericano
“You wanna be Americano, ‘mericano, ‘mericano:
You were born in Italy.
You try livin’ alla moda,
but if you drink whiskey-soda,
all you do is sing off key.”
So sang Sophia Loren in the 1960 film, It Started in Naples. A bitter lyric deriding Italians who affected American ways. Bitter is fitting, the word Americano has layers of meaning and in this case is likely a double entendre. On the surface it clearly refers to Americans and our global influence in the post WWII era. That cultural hegemony was also likely a bitter pill for some Italians to swallow. Ironically, the etymology here traces straight back to Italian explorer, Amerigo Vespucci, for whom the Americas were named.
The definition we are concerned with today, however, has roots in the Italian word for bitter, amaro. Even here we must parse the meaning. On the one hand we have Cocchi Americano, an aromatized wine first introduced in 1891. It is defined by and named for its bitter but slightly sweet gentian driven profile. On the other hand, we have the ultra-refreshing precursor to the Negroni, the Americano cocktail, first served at Caffè Campari in the 1860s.
The original Americano cocktail is, of course, somewhat bitter being a blend of Campari (Red Amaro), Sweet Vermouth and soda. That is the bitter root of the matter but today we bring the Americanos together in a riff, a combo, an Americano, ‘mericano and as far as we know it was invented right here at Binny’s in the U.S. of A.
What makes it Americano2? We replaced the Campari with Cocchi Americano, so it is an Americano cocktail that is actually made with Americano. We then added the stellar Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, a little Gin and topped it off with Soda. So quenching!
If you want to retain the low alcohol profile of the original Americano, omit the Gin, and add an extra half ounce of each Cocchi. It still tastes great, but we preferred it with the kick from the Gin.
Bonus! Both Cocchi products are available in convenient 375 ml bottles so you can easily use them up before they start to go downhill.
So set the Whiskey aside for now but keep the soda close. It’s time to ride out the hot, humid, waning days of summer with a kinder, gentler Americano in hand, perfect for drinking in the free world.
P.S. In a strange twist, a Caffè Americano is espresso cut with water to lessen the bitter kick, perhaps to suit American tastes. We know, all of these definitions are hard to keep straight but don’t be bitter, mix up an Americano, ‘mericano. Now that’s sweet.
- 1 oz. Cocchi Americano
- 1 oz. Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
- 1 oz. London Dry Gin
- 3 oz. Club Soda
- half orange slice for garnish
- Combine Americano, Vermouth and Gin in an ice-filled highball glass.
- Top with soda, stir gently.
- Garnish with orange.
Confessions of a Mixologist: Old Pal
This Rye based Negroni riff was introduced at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris along with the Bourbon based Boulevardier about 100 years ago. Unlike the Negroni and the Boulevardier, Dry Vermouth is called for instead of sweet.Learn more
Confessions of a Mixologist: Quarantinis Vol. IV
Stanley Tucci's viral Negroni video inspired the Barrel to Bottle Crew to tackle this popular cocktail. As usual, things start traditional and quickly veer off into unique riffs.Learn more
Confessions of a Mixologist: Quarantinis Vol. 6
Colder weather means warm cocktails and fall ingredients. Check some of the cocktails featured in Quarantikis vol. 6 - Fall Into Flavor and download the episode to hear some of our cocktail riffs.Learn more