A Neon Drink’s Ode to Elvis

Neon Pink Cocktail in Collins glass with Neon Background
Photo by Tom Arena

This bubbly, low-alcohol riff on a classic Americano comes courtesy of Brian Bartels, owner of Settle Down Tavern in Madison, Wisconsin and author of The United States of Cocktails, which recounts drinking traditions from every corner of the nation. For Nevada, Bartels focused on the legacy of Elvis Presley’s Las Vegas performances. While some might expect this drink to be “all shook up,” it doesn’t require a shaker at all. Rather, it’s built directly in the glass and garnished with a duo of colorful peels. Bartels’ advice: “Double down. You’re in Vegas, baby!”  

Americano Presley

Adapted from The United States of Cocktails: Recipes, Tales and Traditions from All 50 States (and the District of Columbia) (Abrams Image, 2020), by Brian Bartels

  • 1  ounce Campari  
  • ½  ounce sweet vermouth  
  • 2  ounces fresh grapefruit juice  
  • 2–3 ounces chilled club soda  
  • 2  dashes orange bitters  
  • Grapefruit peel, for garnish  
  • Orange peel, for garnish 

In chilled Collins glass, combine Campari, vermouth, grapefruit juice and club soda with ice. Top with bitters. Garnish with grapefruit and orange peels. 

Compare & Contrast

For a fun tastetest, sip this drink sidebyside with a classic Americano: In a highball glass filled with ice, combine 1½ ounces each of Campari and sweet vermouth. Top with plenty of club soda. Garnish with an orange slice. 

Published on March 13, 2021