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Cocktail Recipe – The Americano and The Americano Grapefruit Cooler

Submitted by Tim Brice on April 1, 2011 – 8:00 amNo Comment

Credit for creating the Americano is given to Gaspare Campari. The Milan, Italy bar owner first served this bitter sweet cocktail some time around 1861. During the American prohibition on alcohol, Americans would flock to Europe on holiday sometimes just to have a cocktail or two (and often more). American visitors in Italy learned of the drink and, due to the fact that the bitter Campari was considered only for medicinal purposes in the U.S., brought the drink back with them employing it as a way to ride out prohibition.

P9260060 Cocktail Recipe   The Americano and The Americano Grapefruit Cooler

After much experimentation, I have found this drink is much more well rounded and easier to drink when a quality sweet vermouth is used. Good Italian sweet vermouth is not just sweet, it is weighty on the tongue, almost but not quite as much as cocoa is. Campari is thin like water. While their bitter and sweet characteristics complement by contrast, so to do their weights, often referred to as mouthfeel. Cheap vermouth won’t do this and, in my opinion, hurts the drink in flavor and mouthfeel.

Once called the Americano Hi-Ball, a hi-ball glass is called for here. You could put it in a collins glass but be careful to not overfill the club soda as you will be diluting the drink, unless that is your intention.

A slice of orange is Campari’s traditional and well matched accompanist, but lemon or lime work here just as well but will slightly alter the character of the drink.

To some, the Americano is considered a junior varsity Negroni, which some find too bitter to handle. My suggestion is to give the Americano three good sips. That third sip appears to be the spot where Campari neophytes are no longer shocked at Campari’s bitterness and, having accepted it as a mature drink, begin to enjoy the flavor of the cocktail. I have seen some who add 1/2 ounce of simple syrup to an Americano to make it more acceptable. To me, this is alters the drink too much and, thus, you are making a different cocktail.



1 1/2 ounces Campari

1 1/2 ounces sweet vermouth (I used Forumla Antica)

Cold club soda

Wedge of orange


Pour the Campri and vermouth over ice in a hi-ball glass and fill with club soda. Garnish with slice of orange.


Speaking of making another cocktail, I thought the Americano would be a perfect base for a bittersweet cooler if only a smidge more sweetness was added. I played around with various sugar syrups, agave nectars, etc. and tried pairing them with club soda, tonic water and more.

By far, the recipe that stuck closest to the essence of the Americano while still moving it into cooler territory was the one where straight grapefruit soda was used. Simply put, I kept the Campari and vermouth proportions but omitted club soda, replacing it with Ting grapefruit soda from Jamaica. The grapefruit soda is only lightly sweetened and the slightly bitter grapefruit flavor enhanced the overall flavor of the drink.

Definitely not a sugary alcohol laced punch, this cooler is a tasty, but not syrupy sweet, warm weather drink. It is a perfect match for grilled seafood, especially shrimp. Cheers!

Americano Grapefruit Cooler (not shown)


1 1/2 ounces Campari

1 1/2 ounces sweet vermouth (I used Forumla Antica)

Ting grapefruit soda

1/2 ounce simple syrup (2 to 1)

Slcie of orange

Slice of lemon

Slice of lime


Pour the Campri, vermouth and simple syrup over ice in a collins glass and fill with Ting grapefruit soda. Garnish with slice of orange, lemon and lime.


article clipper Cocktail Recipe   The Americano and The Americano Grapefruit Cooler

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