When I consider the long drink, a cocktail as light as it is sumptuous, as refreshing as it is convivial, what first comes to mind is the Americano. Roughly equal parts Campari, vermouth and soda - maybe garnished with an orange wheel - it's a drink that stirs you to lean back in your chair, cross your legs at the knee, and stare out from behind your shades. It's what Count Negroni riffed on when he poured in the gin. A drink that lets you while away an afternoon behind a straw and look dignified in the process.
And like any good long drink, at the end it suggests, firmly but patiently, that you have another.
To mix up any drink the way you like it, you've got to get to know your ingredients. For the long drink, it all starts with vermouth.
Dolin sweet and dry are good staples. They've been widely available for a long time, and have a solid following among professionals and lay enthusiasts alike. Carpano Antica brings another level of luscious complexity without completely overwhelming a drink. And Punt e Mes packs a vegetal, mentholated punch, if you want to get weird.
Fortunately, as the demand grows, so too do our options.
Below are four newcomers that will give plenty of grist for churning your long-drink mill.
Typically made with a dizzying list of ingredients these are designed for the daylight hours. Enjoyment is the goal.
Martinez Lacuesta brings us our new favorite vermut rojo, from the major Rioja town of Haro. It's aromatized with a spate of herbs and aged three years, then blended again with fresh wine and aged another three months in oak. The result is something totally out of the ordinary. It's less opulent than the Antica, but in that same world.
Yzaguirre has been making a dry white reserva vermouth that brings both complexity and zip to a drink. It's got some meat to it. With 50 botanicals and a minimum of one year barrel aging, a sturdy frame carries the muscle as well as any. Floral notes soften the edge and make this one to mix or sip over ice on its own.
Supple and forward, these lend weight to drinks, yet can be a lighter alternative to amaro.
Baglio Baiata Alagna produces a bianco, perfect for softening drinks that classically call for dry vermouth, and surprisingly companionably with spicy whiskeys. In addition, they make a red vermouth that might just replace your Dolin. Alagna works from native Sicilian grape varietals (inzolia, cataratto, etc) and crafts vermouths of distinction that play well in all kinds of settings.
- 1 1/2 ounces Campari
- 1 1/2 ounces sweet (red) vermouth
- soda water
Garnish: orange slice or orange peel
Glassware: Collins or rocks
- Add Campari and sweet vermouth to a Collins or rocks glass.
- Add ice and top with soda.
- Garnish with an orange slice or orange peel. Use lemon if your prefer more tartness.