I've been on the road a tremendous amount the past couple months - brand ambassador-grade levels of travel - and I've been making Americanos my go-to order at bars along the way. It's prety foolproof, simple, easy to explain even in another language, and most every bar has Italian Vermouth & Campari, even dodgier airport bars. It's also endlessly refreshing after long haul flights -- a low A.B.V. tonic for the jet-lagged. There's a plasticity to the drink that makes it fascinating to see all the interpretations that are both regional, and personal to each bartender I encountered. Got a lovely one from Hannah Waters at 28 Hong Kong Street in Singapore that was a juicy, effervescent re-imagining of the classic Campari/Italian Vermouth/Soda model, appropriate for the near-equatorial swelter of the place (recipe to follow.) Ordering an American is always interesting, not only because each bartender has their own takes and touches, but because you may sometimes wind up with a café Americano, as happened with a fresh-faced bartender at Urban Farmer in The Nines in PDX. (That coffee turned out to be a useful push that particular night, so I think that one was kismet.)
But my all-around favorite so far of this world tour has been from Teardop Lounge's Tyler Stevens. He sticks to the original ratios--mostly--but with a canny blend of two vermouths, Punt E Mes & Cinzano. It's in the selection of vermouth or vermouths where there's so much room for variety, and the blending of two (or more) can hit even more spots on the bitter/sweet/herby flavor spectrum. The addition of a splash of sparkling wine gives it a celebratory finish, which was nice for me as he made it for me at Teardrop on my birthday. I've made a rule that I shall have my first and last drinks there on my Portland visits. (There's a slight flexibility on that rule in that drink can be had at the home of any Teardrop staffer, particularly if that home is closer to the airport and it's rush hour.) I've dubbed this one The All Americano, despite almost nothing in it save water and ice being American, in honor of Tyler's legendary run as star middle linebacker of his high school football team in Newburg , an Oregon town that's possibly even smaller than the one I grew up in, but with a far more impressive team. Just like team at Teardop, and I'm pleased to claim the spot as my bar away from home.
Tyler Stevens' All Americano.
1.25 oz. Campari
1.25 oz. Italian Vermouth (50/50 Cinzano and Punt E Mes)
Stir, add soda in vessel, stir some more, strain and top with sparkling wine. Garnish with a pretty orange peel to impress the ladiez.