This drink is believed to be invented in Turin, Italy in 1861. I might have been created there, but probably not. It certainly wasn’t created in 1861, not even close. It likely was not even created in the 19th century. Here are a few early recipes for this drink:
Northern Italy; including Ravenna, Florence, and Pisa: handbook … by Karl Baedeker (Firm) in 1930
“At the Bars the chief drinks are vermouth (vermut) made of old white wine flavoured with absinthe and americano (80c.-l L.). The most popular liqueurs are Campari Cordial, Campari Bitter, Fernet Branca”
New Catholic world: Volume 135 in 1932
“A favorite appetizer is a mildly alcoholic drink called Americano, made of Vermouth, Campari and soda water. In four months I have seen one Italian man intoxicated.”
Arts & decoration: Volume 41 in 1934
“Piero Bonelli of the Italian Line has sent, at our request, the recipe for an Americano (that aperitif.. It is: Italian Vermouth Martini, Bitter Campari !, Amaro Ramazzotti, 2 Dashes Angostura bitters, Rind of lemon”
By 1950, many sources would claim this drink consisted nothing more than vermouth, Campari, and Soda. It appears this recipe change was due to the drink’s location and possibly the recipe remained the same in Italy; meaning the this was the short american version. Regardless, this is a beautiful drink to have prior to a meal and will likely remain in mainstream drinking culture for many years to come.
This drink dates between 1919 – 1925 (May date earlier) and contained at least as of then:
Shake these ingredients with cracked ice.
Italian Vermouth (Martini) (kiss)
Strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice cubes.
Add Charged soda water (Introduced to the drink by at least 1930)