Last week I wrote a tribute to Anthony Bourdain and made his favorite cocktail, a Negroni in his honor. Full disclosure, I really don’t Negronis. Mainly it’s because I don’t like Campari, one of the three ingredients in it. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a beautiful dark red liqueur infused with fruit and herbs. It has a very strong bitter sweet taste. If you’ve never had it before, it will completely catch you off-guard due to it’s color. You can’t help but expect a sweet fruity flavor and instead you get hit with something that tastes like the unpleasant cough medicine.
So I bought a bottle of it, specifically for the tribute, but now I’m stuck with it. I could let it sit on my bar shelf and wait for a guest to stop by and use it, but given the rate I have people over, it would probably never get touched and ultimately I’m going to have to leave it to one of my children in my will. So to be more practical and keep my ungrateful children from getting more of my cool stuff, I decided to look for some other recipes that use Campari. After a little digging I found a rather easy looking one, a cocktail called the Americano.
The Americano has an interesting reputation. It’s seen a light-weight version of the Negroni. The ingredients are nearly the same as the Negroni, but the Americano switches out the gin for club soda and the result is a lighter drink. I definitely preferred it to the Negroni. The club soda really did make a nice difference and while it’s still a bit bitter, the soda makes it more refreshing. So if you can take the hit to your manhood, I suggest giving it a try.
- 1 1/2 ounces Campari
- 1 1/2 ounces of sweet vermouth
- 3 ounces of club soda
Garnish with an orange peel. Also, if the drink is still a little too bitter, try squeezing a bit of the orange into the drink. Just a small squeeze will make a difference in the sweetness.
If by chance you still need a little convincing to try the Americano, perhaps Ian Flemming can persuade you. Here’s a fun bit of trivia for you. In the very first James Bond novel, Casino Royale, the first drink James Bond orders is an Americano. So the next time one of your friends tries to be clever and order a vodka martini “just like James Bond” don’t try to be an alcohol snob by reminding them that real martinis use gin. Instead, be a literary snob and remind that them James Bond drank Americanos. People are far less likely to insult you back when you comes across as someone who read books instead of someone who knows a lot about cocktails after all.