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

  • Garibaldi — Prosecco, Campari, Orange juice, Orange
  • Cuatro Naranjas — Añejo tequila, Aperol, Orange liqueur, Campari, Orange bitters, Lime peel, Orange peel, Lime juice
  • Redrum — Navy strength rum, Campari, Cherry Liqueur, Orange liqueur, Lime zest
  • Omi and Opa — Gin, Campari, Tonic water, Lime juice
  • Crown Jewel Negroni — Gin, Sweet vermouth, Campari, Juniper-orange tincture