Trust me – This is not a espresso made with hot water for the coffee lover.
This is the story of the cocktail Americano. A creation of Americans abroad and the bartenders who served them in Italy. An Americano was first served in Gaspare Campari’s bar, Cafe Campari in The Campari region of Italy. It was the 1860s and there were plenty of American expatriates around. The drink was originally known as the “Milano-Torino” because Campari is from Milan, where Cafe Campari is located.
Campari creator Gaspare Campari was from Torino and he settled in Milan, where he created the startling orange Campari – the world’s top-selling bitters. He brought sweet vermouth with him from Torino and combined the two signature liquors into this drink, stirring them with soda water – hence the original name. The Italians soon noticed that many Americans enjoyed the cocktail. Eventually the cocktail became known as the “Americano”. The Americano is also a classic aperitif, often served before dinner to cleanse the palate and awaken the appetite.
We love the Americano too. It has a low alcohol content, and we can easily adjust the bitterness. The bitter citrus flavor of the Campari is incredibly refreshing – a palate cleanser on a hot day. The sweet vermouth balances it out just enough with a sweet muskiness, and the soda water makes what could be a very strong and overwhelming drink into a tingling refresher for a hot evening. Serve with citrus slices.
It’s no secret. We love food, wine, and everything delicious. Over the years–and because of this obsession–we have become friends with local chefs, restaurant sommeliers, and customers who have shared their tips on what they like, how they pair it, and how to cook brilliantly. Lately we’ve been obsessed with the apéritif, that magical pre-dinner appetite-stimulating cocktail usually accompanied by light snacks. If you come to our house Shawn will usually serve a Pimm’s over ice or Campari and soda with a blood orange twist along with the following snacks. Substantially more chic and tasty than beer and nachos or vegetable & dips (at least the majority of the time).
As the month of August flashes before our eyes and we make plans to spend the last days of summer with our favorite people, we thought you could also use some of our latest food ideas regarding the fine art of the apéritif.
BURRATA CRISPS Burrata is made from fresh mozzerella and cream and has a rich buttery flavor. It’s best served room temperature. Scoop out burrata and put in the center of a large serving dish. Lightly drizzle a good EVOO and sprinkle with Fleur de Sel. Let your guests spread burrata on crusty bread, which you can make quickly by slicing up a baguette brushing it with EVOO, toasting in the oven, and adding a sprinkling of FdS. We also like to put out a ramekin of olive tapenade for those who want extra flavor.
ALMOND STUFFED DATES
Remove pits from (Medjool) dates and replace with a toasted almond. Sauté in a little EVOO for a couple of minutes to carmelize dates. Sprinkle with Fleur de Sel and serve warm.
FIGS WITH GOAT CHEESE & JAM
Fresh figs, halve, arrange length-wise on a platter and set aside. In a bowl, combine goat cheese, a drizzle of blueberry jam, and Fleur de Sel (to taste). Add water, cream, OR milk to thin out consistency. Spoon or use a pastry tip to adorn figs and serve.