Saturday, April 6, 2013

Americano + And A Little Love From Italy

Michael and I spent Easter in Italy, in Imperia to be precise, a small town on the Ligurian coast, close to the French border. I realize that Imperia sounds a lot less intriguing than Rome, Florence or Paris, another big city that we could travel to rather easily from Switzerland. But Imperia was all we needed, a not-so-touristy, small and rather quiet coastal town. There was little to do, but lots of sun, cheap and strong espressos, walks along the sea front, and the occasional aperitivo.

I felt very grown up for drinking the typical Italian aperitivos instead of the beer I usually order. The Italians drank several different aperitivos that were all based on Campari, Vermouth, Aperol and other liquors that are similarly bitter and herby. We ordered Americanos, Negronis and a Campari Soda, but I have seen people order Aperol with Soda, too, and other similar drinks that I was not able to identify. Of the three drinks I had, I liked the Americano best. An Americano is a lot classier than most cocktails, it does not scream bachelorette party like the Sex on the Beach or the PiƱa Colada (can you see I am not much a fan of these kind of drinks?). In fact, wikipedia tells me that this is the first drink James Bond orders in the short story "From a View to a Kill". And I have to say, if it is good enough for James Bond, it is good enough for me, and far enough from the mental image of bachelorette parties, too.

The Americano is perfect for an aperitivo, even before lunch when you feel it might normally be too early to have a drink but since you are on vacation it might be okay!? The Negroni is similar, with added gin, and I feel more appropriate for an after dinner drink than an aperitivo. Both are really good, though.
P.S. Do you see that rice "pie" in the first picture? It is a tortaverde, a pie with an olive oil dough and a filling of rice, spinach and zucchini, and I think I need to make this one soon and share here. I really loved it.

Note: For a Negroni, instead of water, use 30ml of gin. Wikipedia tells me that today the often use more gin than just one part, but I think equal amounts of all the alcohols makes for a more balanced drink. There is no need to use the best gin you have for a Negroni, the Campari and the Vermouth are strongly flavoured and don't let the gin shine.

30ml Campari
30ml vermouth rosso
a splash of soda water (I use the equal amounts of water, Campari and Vermouth)
an orange slice (optional)

Pour the campari and vermouth over ice in a short tumbler. Add a splash of water and the orange slice. Enjoy.


  1. Beautiful! Although I really loved going through the major cities of Italy when I visited, I think if I were lucky enough to go again, I'd like to do more of this type of thing. Sometimes little towns are all you need. That last photo of Imperia is especially beautiful.

    And I am so illiterate when it comes to drinks. I hate to admit it, but I really only like drinks when they don't taste like alcohol--fruity, citrusy, all of that. Which is a real shame, because I love the idea of aperitivos and all that. And I very much love how this one sounds... but I know I'd probably dislike it. I'm envious of you and your skilled tastes when it comes to drinks!

    1. Do you like the non-alcoholic aperitivo drinks, like a Sanbitter? But really, just enjoy whatever it is that you like best. If you don't like bitter drinks, you probably dont like this one, but have you had a Aperol Spritz before (Aperol + Prosecco)? My mother likes those and she is not really into bitter drinks either.

  2. I've actually never heard of Sanbitter! And although I think I've heard of an aperola spritz before, I don't think I've tried that one either. It sounds like something I would like though -- I love drinks with prosecco in it. I'll have to try both of those out when I see them next time I'm out. Thanks for recommending them to me. :)

  3. The Aperol Spritz is a really popular drink here these days, but I am not sure if this is just a European thing? If you do try them out, I'd love to know what you think of them. (And it seems that the reply button does not work, I'll look into that this evening)