How To Make An Americano (The Negroni’s Cooler Cousin)
— Updated on 8 August 2023

How To Make An Americano (The Negroni’s Cooler Cousin)

— Updated on 8 August 2023
Randy Lai
Randy Lai
1 serving(s)
Prep Time:
5 mins
Total Time:
5 mins


  • 1.0 oz Campari
  • 1.0 oz Sweet vermouth
  • 2.5 oz Club soda


  1. Fill a highball glass with ice
  2. Pour in all ingredients and stir briefly
  3. Garnish with orange wheel/wedge

Variously described as the “Italian sunshine” in liquid form, or more methodically, as a libation that is two-thirds of the way to a Negroni; the Americano is a style of beverage that has been around even longer than the former three-part classic recipe.

With these mixological ‘How To’ guides, I know it’s become something of a running gag as to how simplistic most of the recipes are; yet in the case of the Americano, it’s really no exaggeration to say that this is, by far, the most delicious mixed beverage you can craft with little-to-no effort.

To put it another way: if you can make a Gin & Tonic, then the Americano should prove to be an absolute doddle. Simply pour all your ingredients into a long glass (we’ll come to why the height of the glass is so important in a moment); gently stir everything together 3-4 times; garnish with an orange slice; and è presto — the ultimate low ABV refresher.

Anytime, anywhere: an instant liquid pick-me-up.

RELATED: The Only Negroni Recipe You Need To Know

A Brief History Of The Americano Cocktail

In and of itself, there’s not a whole lot that may be said about the Americano recipe that’s not covered by the words “Campari” and “spritzer”. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to think that this recipe — inarguably a much lighter, more session-able expression of the Negroni — has been around since the 1860s.

Literally translating as “American style”, the Americano originated during an age when US cocktail culture was sweeping across Europe. In response, a multitude of Italian vermouth makers began marketing their liqueurs with the ‘Americano’ tagline: adding bitters (e.g. Fernet Branca) to the equation in order to appeal to the moreish, bittersweet palates of Yankie tourists holidaying on the Continent.

Americano recipe
(Image Credit: Simply Recipes)

Somewhere along the way, bartenders began adding soda water to the mix; resulting in the concoction of an aperitivo-style drink that really is the most versatile option one can sip during daylight hours — before the big pre-dinner artillery pieces (i.e. Martinis and Manhattans) are brought to bear.

One historical tidbit about the Americano that has flown somewhat under the radar centres on the beverage’s prominence in the James Bond universe. Author Ian Fleming, who spent a good portion of his literary career in Jamaica (a locale renowned for its tropical humidity), was himself a big fan of the drink’s refreshing and easy-drinking qualities: so much so, that he immortalised it as the first ever cocktail Bond orders in the Casino Royale (1953) novel. A few sentences later, he meets Vesper Lynd, the inspiration for the iconic Bond “Vesper” martini that starred in the 2006 film adaptation.

If it’s good enough for 007…

RELATED: Liquid Intel – Grillroom Splendour At Gimlet & A Spritzer That Goes For Gold

Tips & Tricks For Making A Great Americano

As with nearly every other drink recipe we’ve bothered to record in Boss Hunting‘s digital archive, the simplicity of the Americano belies a certain amount of attention to detail that’s warranted when you want to make a very good (as opposed to ‘good enough’) version.

In mirroring the principles of cucina romana — and indeed, various other regional traditions of northern and southern Italian cookery — much of the work involved in making delicious Americanos comes before and after you assemble the beverage.

In conversation with Bar Leone’s Lorenzo Antinori (whose highly lauded tenures at Argo Hong Kong and Charles H in Seoul require zero introduction), we were supplied with three key takeaways:

“For me, one of the most important factors is all about ratios,” says the veteran Roman bar-master. “Ergo, vermouth, Campari, and dilution.”

“When stirred down and topped with soda, it can be difficult to consistently ensure your finished beverage doesn’t become watery. That’s why at [Bar Leone] we implemented the tap system — it gives us better control.”

Additionally, it pays to give a little extra attention to what vermouth you’ll use when building the Americano’s core flavour profile. For a distinctly Antipodean riff, we like Saison Aperitifs’ aptly styled House Vermouth: lightly bodied and more floral in comparison to vermouth di torino.

Steward of tradition that he is, Antinori also recommends Punt e Mes: a classic Piedmontese variation, with a distinctly “bitter edge” that makes for a more balanced, sippable beverage.

Lastly (and this part is crucial) you should always attempt to serve your Americano in a tall drinking vessel. As Antinori explains:

“The long, thin shape of something like a highball glass works to enhance the drink’s carbonated sensation. If somebody serves you an Americano in a tumbler — throw it in the sink.”

You heard the man.

Subscribe to B.H. Magazine

Randy Lai
Following 6 years in the trenches covering consumer luxury across East Asia, Randy joins Boss Hunting as the team's Commercial Editor. His work has been featured in A Collected Man, M.J. Bale, Soho Home, and the BurdaLuxury portfolio of lifestyle media titles. An ardent watch enthusiast, boozehound and sometimes-menswear dork, drop Randy a line at [email protected].


Share the article