While we’re not adherents to “dry” January, we do appreciate slowing things down a bit as the year resets. Enter the lower alcohol cocktails. And the absolute mountaintop of great lower ABV cocktails is the iconic Americano. It’s devilishly easy to make and packs a wonderful flavor punch.
The Americano is a Campari-based cocktail that pre-dates the Negroni by about half a century. The original mix of Campari, sweet vermouth, and sparkling water dates back to the 1860s and became a huge hit among American tourists in the early 1900s. That drink was so popular amongst those tourists, the barmen in Milan’s famed Campari bar renamed the drink after them in the 1920s.
Beyond the history, this drink is super easy to make. You don’t need any fancy equipment or skills really. You just need a little booze and a glass. So, let’s get into it!
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- 1.5 oz. Campari
- 1.5 oz. sweet vermouth
- 3 oz. Sparkling water
- Orange peel
This is pretty straightforward. You’re going to need some Campari, obviously. I’m using Carpano Antica sweet vermouth because that’s what I have in the fridge. I also have some San Pelligrino around, so that’s the water I’m cutting this with. That’s pretty much it.
What You’ll Need:
- Highball glass
- Pairing knife
- Fill your glass with ice.
- Add the Campari and sweet vermouth then top with sparkling water. Stir once.
- Cut a thumb-sized section of peel from the orange and then express the oils over the drink.
- Drop the peel in the glass and serve.
This is everything I want right now. It’s light yet bursting with flavor. It’s slightly bitter in the sense of dry botanicals next to a floral sweetness that’s bright and delicious. There’s a plummy fruit depth that’s nice, with the orange really adding a bright counterpoint.
There’s also a smoothness at play that just works wonders right now. You feel like you’re drinking something substantial without a massive alcohol kick. It’s an eye-opener that really takes the edge off, kind of like an average-ABV beer. Which, I’d argue, is just right for January sipping.