Italian Americano: history of a classic aperitivo cocktail.

In previous articles we introduced the Negroni (All you need to know before ordering your next Negroni.), also we already mentioned another cocktail from which this well-known drink came from: the Americano. This cocktail represents a classic itself, also using our beloved vermouth as a key ingredient. But, who was the first person that served one and who invented it for us to enjoy it nowadays in our favorite bar? Let’s find it out together.

We already saw in our previous article that two ancient Italian mixes existed, dated back to the 19th century in the northern region of Italy. The Milano-Torino composed by Campari and sweet vermouth, and the Torino-Milano made with Campari and amaro. Americano turns out to be an evolution of these two, and more specifically of the Milano-Torino. Can you imagine something more Italian to drink? We certainly can’t.

Again regarding the origins of this classic cocktail we find more than one story that claims to be the true one, we retrieved some from the article of the Black-Flag “Il Mi-To Americano, Storia Ed Origine Di Un Cocktail Tutto Italiano“. One of the theories claims that the creator was Gaspare Campari at his celebrated bar Caffè Campari in Milano around 1860. According to this theory, the Americano would be a variation of the already mentioned Milano-Torino created by Gaspare for the aperitivo at his bar.


img_storica_esterno_zoomImage Source 1. 

Another story claims that it was created during the 30s and even provides an explanation for the cocktail name and the ingredients used. According to this, the Americano would be a cocktail created to celebrate the success of the boxer Primo Carnera, World Heavyweight Champion in 1933 and 1934. It is said that all the ingredients used were Italian, just like Carnera, and the name given was a celebration of the place where he conquered his title: New York.

There is even a third story, claiming that the Americano was a result of the Italian customers of a particular bar in Milano wanting to replicate the drinking habits of the American tourists in the city. The story says that Italians started ordering an Americano as a reference to their aperitivo drink, mixed with soft drinks such as soda, something commonly done by these tourists.


Image source 2.

Now that we know more about the origins of this cocktail, let’s focus on how to prepare one. Ready to prepare you own Americano?


  • 30ml Campari
  • 30ml Sweet vermouth
  • Splash of Soda

Add Campari and sweet vermouth to a rocks or highball glass filled with ice. Add a splash of soda and stir briefly to mix. Garnish with an orange twist.


Image Source 3.

Finally, these are the 3 things that you should remember about the Americano:

  • Americano is one of the most known classic cocktails for the aperitivo, fitting the occasion perfectly thanks to its bittersweet taste.
  • It is considered to be the father of the Negroni, which is an evolution created in Florence in the early 20th century.
  • As in most of the classic cocktails, vermouth is a key ingredient of the Americano, one of the most representative Italian drinks.

Americano is one of the oldest and better known classic cocktails, being the base for further variations that became worldwide known cocktails by their own. A perfect choice for vermouth lovers, its characteristic bittersweet flavor would make any occasion even better. So next time you are out for aperitivo, or even for an after meal drink, try the Americano. We are sure you will enjoy it. Cheers!


My name is Jorge Ferrer, I am a spirits and cocktails lover and a vermouth enthusiast. I earned my MsC in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at ESADE Business School and at the moment I hold a Junior Brand Manager position in Brown-Forman. I am planning to market my own vermouth, feel free to reach out or connect with me at or @jorge_chinaski 


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