The right way, the wrong way & the American way

My husband often tells me I'm stubborn. He also often tells me I'm American.

I often think he uses the two interchangeably.

In the spirit of being an all-American girl, I've been in search of a cocktail with which I can proudly raise my glass today to celebrate independence with my fellow Americans, both at home and abroad.

My libation of choice:
The Americano.

This fizzy refreshment is a variation on the Negroni, the classic Italian cocktail that has appeared more than once in a few of my infamous misadventures.

I think it quite befitting that my favorite cocktail can be made three different ways: the right way, the wrong way and the American way. As anyone who knows me well will tell you, I believe this applies to any commingling of spirits, alcoholic or otherwise.

As an expat in Europe I find myself in a great many discussions about cultural differences and the pros and cons of various approaches to things ranging from healthcare, social services and taxes to less politically-charged matters such as tipping and (what should be) the highly objective take-a-number system.

I certainly don't presume to tell anyone what is right or wrong (with the exception of the take-a-number system, which I firmly believe should entail some form of linear organization), but what I stand by most adamantly, what I defend most vociferously, is my fundamental right to choose.

This, my friends, is the true definition of independence.

It's the freedom to make your own decisions.
To choose your own adventures.
To excel or to fail in your endeavors.
To be all that you can be, whatever that might mean to you.
To take control of your destiny.
To arm yourself with information.
To transcend where you came from or who you were born to.
To follow your dreams, to change your fate, and to create your own happily-ever-after.

Happy Birthday America.
Right or wrong, I salute you.

The Americano

Originally dubbed the Milano-Turino for its two main ingredients, Campari from Milano and Cinzano (sweet vermouth) from Turin, this delicate drink was popularized by American tourists during prohibition and renamed as a compliment to the Americans...

When was the last time something like that happened in Europe?

Made with equal parts Campari and sweet vermouth, it's topped up with an indiscriminate amount of club soda so you can adjust the taste to your liking.

It can be further set apart from its Italian cousins by preparing it in a highball instead of an old-fashioned glass, and garnishing it with a lemon twist instead of an orange.

Personally, I like to get sassy and have both.

1 oz Campari
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
club soda
lemon twist or wedge

Fill your glass with ice and add the Campari and vermouth. My personal preference is Cinzano, but you an also use Martini & Rossi or Boissiere. If you're feeling adventurous and want to pop for the more expensive Carpano Antica, consider using a half ounce of that with a half ounce of one of the others if you find the herbal flavor overpowering.

Top it up with club soda, adding as much or as little as you like. If you happen to live in Europe where even liquor store clerks (and apparently some bartenders) haven't the slightest idea what "club soda" is, try asking for seltzer or carbonated water, NOT tonic.

Garnish with a lemon twist.

Or, if you'd rather have the orange slice, go ahead, knock yourself out. It's up to you. That's the beauty of the Americano.

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