El Dorado's Americano
1030 Broadway, San Diego
Since the El Dorado Cocktail Lounge started offering what bartender Matthew Stanton calls “advanced cocktails” on its menu, he says they’ve been a hard sell to the status quo. In particular, Stanton says, he’d like customers to get a little cozier with the Compari-fueled Americano and the Artichoke Hold, which uses Compari’s not-quite-as-bitter cousin Cynar, an artichoke-based liqueur.
“I think that liking these drinks comes with time, after testing and experience,” Stanton says. “When I tell people it’s an advanced cocktail, though, I have to be careful sometimes because some people get offended thinking I’m calling them rookies with their liquor.”
But there are enough customers who are wild about them to keep it a popular item on the menu, Stanton adds.
“We knew when we put it on the menu that we weren’t going to sell a ton of them,” he says, “but people who love them come running for them.”
The Americano started off as a European cocktail and was made popular among American booze tourists during Prohibition, especially hitting its stride after showing up in Hemingway stories. Stanton says it’s a perfect daytime drink and a great aperitif as a prelude to dinner because of its low proof and Compari’s much-heralded benefits to body and soul.
“Bitter” doesn’t quite get at what the Americano offers the palate, Stanton says. Rather, he looks at it as a fine-tuned demonstration of why balance is the first principle of any successful cocktail.
“The balance of the bitter and sweetness from the vermouth gives it a unique complexity,” he says.
Kitchen proof: Another term for bittersweet pleasure? El Dorado’s Americano.
In a Collins glass filled with ice, pour:
2 oz. Compari liqueur
1 oz. sweet vermouth
Top off with soda water, stir, raise your glass to Papa, drink, and express your delight in terse bits of prose.