Friday, September 6, 2019

The Futurist Cookbook with an Americano Shandy

I first heard about Filipino Tommaso Marinetti's 'The Futurist Cookbook' as a History of Art undergraduate when the idea of an Italian artist dissing pasta seemed every bit as anarchic and amusing as Marinetti could have hoped for. At the time I might have been known to drink to much extra dry Martini (at room temperature as well, god help me, until one night I drank far to much of it and didn't touch Vermouth again until I'd become a proper grown up) which was probably also in the right general spirit.

Despite some intention at the time I never did read 'The Futurist Cookbook' (and had to remind myself what Italian futurism looked like) so when I found a smart Penguin modern classics copy of the cookbook in a second hand shop recently I was very pleased. It's a curious book, first published in 1932 when Marinetti's nationalism would maybe have seemed less troubling it sets out to be deliberately provocative.

I've found it's best dipped in and out of, a little Marinetti goes a long way, but in small doses it's startling, poetic, whimsical, and very much in love with the promise of modernity and the idea of velocity. It also mentions vermouth (along with a whole host of other Italian wines and liqueurs) quite a bit and is definitely a book best enjoyed with a drink of some sort in hand.

I wanted a drink that sounded suitably iconoclastic to suggest to go with it and the Americano Shandy* fits the bill. Roughly speaking an Americano is produced in the same way as vermouth, but has more bitter components. It's name derives from the French, amer (bitter). This drink is also a sort of cousin to the Negroni.

It's probably time to confess again that I still don't like Campari, or the Americano family and I'm not sure I ever will, so I haven't tried this. If you do like a negroni though, or Campari generally, it's got to be worth a try. These quantities serve 2.

Take 25ml of Campari and 25ml of red vermouth, split between 2 glasses, add ice, and top up with 330ml of lager. Stir carefully to mix (there's advice on this in the Sipsmith book - they suggest using a bar spoon and lifting it up and down a couple of times to preserve the fizz) and there you have it.

*I found the recipe in 'A Spirited Guide to Vermouth', it's by Kate Hawkings, author of 'Aperitif: A Spirited Guide to the Drinks, History and Culture of the Aperitif


  1. I finally bought some Aperol to try. It's OK - but the bitter taste is quite strange - it's too long since I drank Campari in anything, so can't really compare. However at about 1:3 Aperol to lemonade, it's quite nice - and looks like Tizer!

  2. Doesn't it just! Aperol isn't quite as bitter as Campari, but I find whilst I love sour I'm not so keen on bitter being a major part of my drink. It's a flavour we generally need to train ourselves to like but that feels like a lot of effort to me. That said, an Aperol spritz on holiday isn't unwelcome.