Campari is an aperitif Amaro invented near Milan, Italy in 1860 by Gaspare Campari. While the recipe is a secret and known to very few, it is thought to contain Chinotto, a bitter, citrus fruit brought to Italy from China.

Campari is bright red, now due to artifical color. Before 2006, the color of Campari was due to the use of Carmine, derived from the cochineal beetle. Some people are severly allergic to this coloring, and others have objections due to following vegetarianism, or religious dietary laws.

Campari initially smells fruity, somewhere between pomegranate and cherry. It is moderately sweet, and fairly low alcohol (anywhere between 40 proof and 56 proof depending on where you buy it). It has a firm, dry bitterness like black pepper and quinine, which lingers tremendously.

Campari can simply be drunk over ice with soda and an orange wedge, but it also has applications in both classic cocktails such as the Negroni and innovative cocktails such as the Bitter Elder.

Campari website

Some popular cocktails containing Campari

  • City Bird — Rhum Agricole, Campari, Prosecco, Lemon juice, Lemon peel, Triplum
  • The Adams — Bourbon, Sweet vermouth, Campari, Kummel, Bitters
  • Spruce Moose (get in smithers) — Mezcal, Zirbenz Stone Pine Liqueur, Campari, Herbal liqueur, Sweet vermouth
  • Red Danube — Zwack liqueur, Sweet vermouth, Campari, Orange bitters, Lime juice, Orange peel
  • Cure for Pain — Rye, Tawny port, Sweet vermouth, Bourbon, White Crème de Cacao, Campari, Orange peel