July 7, 2020

What You Need to Know About Campari

The iconic red liqueur you are going to come across in the world of making cocktails, so here's what you need to know.

Italian Campari

Campari has become a classic in the world of drinks.

It's unique flavor has allowed it to be enjoyed both as an aperitif before meals and as an ingredient in some iconic cocktails.

Here is what you need to know about Campari...

opening a bottle of Campari

What does Campari taste like?

Campari tastes like bitter orange and grapefruit with a background of complex red fruits, herbs and spices. Its' mellow cherry and berry notes are backed with subtle hints of cinnamon and botanicals that are swept away with bright citrus leaving a pleasantly bitter aftertaste.

The unique flavor has given it a cult following among some cocktail enthusiasts, while some say it's too much for them. 

If you've never tasted it before it can be hard to imagine, but once you do you'll be able to pick out its' distinct bitterness in drinks.

Pouring Campari

How is Campari made?

Campari has been made since the late 1800's using a secret recipe supposedly only known by a few people.

The only ingredients we know for sure are water and alcohol, and all Campari discloses is that the flavor comes from an "infusion of bitter herbs, aromatic plants and fruit". Nobody even knows how many ingredients there are with guesses ranging from 20 to 80... I guess we will never know.

According to their website the recipe has remained unchanged since Gaspare Campari founded the company in 1860.

Bitter Italian Liqueur

Making cocktails with Campari

It's one of the key components in the family of bitter red cocktails that include classics like the Negroni and the Americano.

The bold taste is able to cut through many other flavors, and its' vibrant colors make for some stunning drinks.

Garnishing a Campari & Soda

Campari + Soda

The easiest way to drink Campari. A perfect highball for summer.

However, Campari can also overpower a cocktail making it bracingly bitter and unbalanced.

It does not play nicely with delicate flavors and needs to be used sparingly in many drinks to give the other ingredients their chance to shine.

Campari substitutes

Since Campari has its own secret recipe nothing will be an exact match for the flavor, but there are other bitter style liqueurs that are similar.

Try using Cappelletti Apertivo, Contratto, or Gran Classico Bitter.

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