When most people think of James Bond’s go-to cocktail, they think of the Vesper Martini—that gin, vodka, kina Lillet combo with a twist of lemon that’s about as hard on the liver as Miss Vesper Lynd is on the heart—but in fact, it’s the oft under-the-radar Americano that is 007’s true order. Bond’s signature drink appears in no less than three Bond stories (Casino Royale, From Russia with Love, From a View to a Kill), but while that may provide more than enough reason to make any drink worth trying, the Americano actually traces its history back to Italy, almost 100 years earlier.
First served in Gasparo Compari’s bar in Milan in the 1860s, the Americano is made of Vermouth, Campari, and soda water. A direct descendant of the “Milano-Torino”, a drink consisting of Campari–the bitter liqueur from Milan–and Punt e Mes–the vermouth from Turin–but lacked soda water, which itself is a descendant of the “Torino-Milano”, a concoction consisting of equal parts Campari and Amaro Cora.
How And When
If you’re looking to be like Bond, James prefers Perrier as a way to improve this cafe drink. Italian diners, meanwhile, view the Americano as the perfect aperitivo. It delivers a mild bitterness, a little alcohol, and an infusion of a bubbly base and serves as an easy way to stimulate one’s appetite for dinner..
- 1.5 oz. Campari
- 1.5 oz. sweet vermouth
- ~4 oz. soda water
Combine Campari and sweet vermouth in a tall glass over rocks. Top with soda water, stir to combine, and garnish with an orange peel either on the rocks or straight up. Serve before dinner.
While any sweet vermouth you have on hand will work, the soda water and the amount of bubbles matter. We are advised to avoid low carbonation San Pelegrino or Perrier but to opt for Fever Tree, Q, Mineragua, Schwepps or Topo Chico. The test of sufficient carbonation is if the bubbles hurt after 3 seconds alone in your mouth, then the soda water will work well in your Americano..
In 1919, Count Camillo Negroni, at Florence’s Caffe Casoni, requested an Americano made with gin instead of soda water, which marked the creation and launch of the first Negroni.
the most famous and enduring variation of the Americano.
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