The sparkling Americano might sound like just another viral Tik Tok trend. However, espresso served with sparkling water is not the latest invention. Italians have been serving sparkling water on the side of espresso for ages, so why not combine the two?
What is a sparkling Americano?
In Italy or high-end coffee shops worldwide, you’ll more likely find espresso served with sparkling water on the side. This portion of sparkling water, sometimes called a sidecar, is meant to cleanse your palate before and after you drink espresso.
Viral TikTok videos, however, have taken the combination of espresso and sparkling water in a new direction, blending them to make a sparkling Americano. Starbucks has also experimented with this technique at select locations.
An Americano is a common drink made with espresso and hot water. A sparkling Americano is an espresso shot with sparkling water, typically served with ice. Many sparkling Americano recipes also incorporate orange or other citrus fruits.
If you like nitro coffee, you may like the texture and sweetness of a sparkling Americano. Nitro coffee is infused with either nitrogen or nitrous oxide gas using a nitro cold brew coffee maker. A sparkling Americano with carbon dioxide from the sparkling water won’t be as foamy or sweet as nitro coffee, but it will be fizzy!
A sparkling Americano is not an alcoholic drink. However, the combination of bitter, sweet, and citrus resembles the Americano cocktail, which blends sweet vermouth, Campari, and soda water and has an orange peel garnish.
What do you need to make a sparkling Americano?
Like any Americano, a sparkling Americano is made using a shot of espresso. Of course, an espresso machine makes this easy. However, if you don’t have one, an affordable Moka Pot or AeroPress can make concentrated coffee that will serve well enough for this beverage.
Beyond that, you’ll need a tall glass, ice cubes, and sparkling water. Seltzer water, soda water, or club soda can substitute sparkling water.
Tonic water has a bitter flavor, so use it only if you want a little bitterness. That said, cold brew plus tonic water creates a coffee drink called the coffee tonic.
You can use your favorite coffee add-ins when making sparkling Americano. Citrus fruits like lemon, lime, grapefruit, or orange are a common addition. Put a whole slice of the fruit in the bottom of your glass before adding the ice, or you can add fresh orange juice (half an orange worth) after you pour in your espresso shot. A splash of premade orange juice will do in a pinch.
Orange peels or an orange slice on the rim of the glass make a perfect garnish. You can also rub the orange slice or orange peel around the rim of the glass so you taste the fruit’s oils as you sip your drink.
How to make sparkling Americano at home
A sparkling Americano isn’t your everyday morning coffee. Of course, you can drink it anytime, but it’s better suited to sip throughout a relaxed afternoon.
- 6 fl. oz (180 ml) sparkling water
- 1 shot of espresso
- Ice cubes
- 1 slice of lemon (optional)
- Put a slice of lemon at the bottom of your glass if desired.
- Fill the glass three-quarters full with ice cubes.
- Pour in sparkling water.
- Pull a shot of espresso.
- Pour espresso into the glass with sparkling water.
To achieve a layered effect, gently pour the espresso into the glass while allowing it to flow over the back of a spoon.
Tips on preparing sparkling Americano
If you’ve been making coffee drinks for a while, you’ve probably come across recipes that use variation in temperature to create a layered look. Dirty coffee and dirty matcha latte are two of the most well-known examples. Both drinks have a layer of cold liquid on the bottom and a layer of hot liquid on top. The cool liquid is denser and stays on the bottom, separate from the hot layer.
You’ll see this pattern if you make the sparkling Americano using the directions above — the hot espresso shot tends to stay on top of the icy sparkling water, at least at the beginning. You can stir the drink to mix the layers before you drink it.
Letting the sparkling water sit out at room temperature for a while before you make the drink can reduce the temperature difference, making the drink blend more easily. Another option is to change the order of the steps by pouring the espresso shot over the ice first and then adding sparkling water. However, the downside of this method is that the ice will melt faster, which is a common problem with iced coffee.
Sparkling Americano variations
Adding extra ingredients to your sparkling Americano is a great way to get creative with your coffee. If there’s a taste you generally love, why not work it in here? The options are endless.
As a general note, you can add whatever syrup flavor you want to a sparkling Americano, but you may find it hard to mix the syrup with the other ingredients properly in the glass with the ice. You are more likely to taste the sweetness of the syrup throughout your drink if you put it in a cocktail shaker with the espresso and shake it to combine before you pour it into your drinking glass. If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, use a jar with a lid.
Using flavored soda in place of sparkling water can be an easy way to add flavor to your sparkling Americano. Ginger beer is a great choice. It’s stronger in taste than ginger ale because the ginger is fermented and brewed. Ginger ale is more like club soda with ginger syrup, but that can also work to add a ginger flavor to your drink. It’s like drinking a gingerbread latte but suitable for summer!
Fruit-flavored seltzer water
Making a sparkling Americano sometimes involves putting fresh orange juice or citrus fruit in your coffee. If you don’t have fruit on hand or want to accentuate the flavor of the citrus fruit you’ve used, flavored seltzer water can help. Grapefruit is an especially tasty choice!
Starbucks has made sparkling espresso with mint, combining espresso, simple syrup, and mint leaves in a cocktail shaker. However, the better way to do it involves making mint simple syrup.
To make a simple syrup with mint, combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, and 1 cup fresh mint leaves in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil for 1 minute, then let it steep for 30 minutes. Then, strain out the mint leaves. Store the syrup in a jar in the fridge.
Once your mint syrup is ready, combine two tablespoons of it in a cocktail shaker with a shot of espresso. Pour that over sparkling water and ice. You can then garnish your drink with mint leaves, intensifying the aroma.
A mint sparkling Americano also works very well with ginger beer instead of sparkling water.
If you have leftover rose syrup from making a rose latte, you might as well put it in your sparkling Americano! Shake one to two tablespoons of rose syrup in a cocktail shaker with your shot of espresso before adding it to your sparkling Americano.
Rose syrup is also an effective sweetener for espresso cream soda. Although it has a floral taste, it’s not too overpowering.
You’ll want to use ginger beer or ginger ale instead of sparkling water for a blueberry ginger sparkling Americano. Then, shake one tablespoon of blueberry syrup in a cocktail shaker with your shot of espresso before adding it to your sparkling Americano.
Making cold brew coffee at home is very easy. You can make either regular or decaf cold brew, as long as you use coarsely ground coffee beans. You steep coffee in water overnight, then strain it, and it’s ready to use. When prepared, your jug of coffee can stay in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Combining cold brew with sparkling water is even faster than using espresso. There’s no waiting to pull the espresso shot — you just put the ice cubes in your glass, fill it half full with sparkling water and then fill it the rest of the way with cold brew. Better yet, there’s no difference in temperature between the coffee and the sparkling water if they both just came out of the fridge, so they combine more easily than chilled sparkling water and hot espresso.
My favorite pairing for cold brew coffee is black cherry seltzer water — the combination has a rich texture and tastes similar to Cherry Coke.
Espresso cream soda
You will love an espresso cream soda if you like coffee with heavy cream. First, fill your glass with ice cubes. Then, add a shot of espresso and the sweetener of your choice — a brown sugar simple syrup is ideal! Continue filling your glass with soda water, but leave room at the top. Finally, add heavy cream. The cream will likely sink and combine with the other ingredients, but you can stir to mix it more if desired.
Espresso combined with soda water may sound strange, but it’s a deliciously simple way to make a refreshing drink for summer. Once you start getting creative with the basic concept, you may not need to go to Starbucks or other coffee shops — you can make the coffee drink you enjoy!