May was a bust in DC; it rained pretty much all month and the weather was unseasonably cool. And then the rain stopped, and the swelter started. We went straight from the rain and right into hot, muggy summer. So for the month of June we’ll be spending some time with cold, sparkling cocktails to help us beat the heat. First up this month: a sparkling amaro spritz straight out of Italy called The Americano. It’s ridiculously easy to make and incredibly refreshing, which makes it perfect for summer evenings and al fresco dining. –Andrew
1 1/2 oz Campari
1 1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
Combine the Campari and sweet vermouth over ice in a highball glass. Top with soda water and give it a stir. Garnish with an orange slice and enjoy!
Pretty simple, no? Italians do happy hour a little differently than we do. Instead of cheap draft pours, they’re drinking vermouth on the rocks and sparkling amaro spritzes. There’s something to be said for this: a drink like the herbaceous, bittersweet Americano is effortless to make and effortless to drink; its low proof means that one or two of these won’t knock you out. And it looks beautiful which, in Italy, is half the point anyway.
This amaro spritz has a long history. The Americano was first served in the 1860s in Milan, where Gaspare Campari – the inventor of the brilliantly red, deeply bitter amaro Campari, opened his Cafe Campari. James Bond orders one in Casino Royale, and it was also the favorite drink of Count Camillo Negroni who, in 1919, asked his bartender to punch up his Americano with some gin and, well, you get the idea.
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Glassware by Liquorary
Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper