Have you recently stumbled upon a particularly appealing bottle containing an enticing scarlet spirit? Do you want to know what it is and whether it is worthwhile to purchase it?
This blog will teach you all you need to know about Campari, including its flavor profile, history, and use, as well as some unique recipes.
A Brief History of Campari
Gaspare Campari, who was born in Cassolnovo, Lombardy, in 1828, is the man behind the aperitif known today as Campari.
After a few years of working in bars, Gaspare Campari began experimenting with bitter aperitifs around 1840, using a variety of herbs, spices, and other ingredients.
He advertised these diverse drinks throughout Italy. He eventually found the perfect mix that would become the Campari that we know and love after two decades of tinkering.
What’s more interesting is that when Campari’s sons Guido and Davide took over the firm in 1920, they pared down the brand’s range to exclude some of Gaspare’s more experimental bottlings.
Reducing the portfolio to only one apéritif, Bitter Campari, and a transparent, bittersweet raspberry-based liqueur, Cordial Campari. The cordial production halted in the 1990s.
What type of spirit is Campari?
Campari is one of the most well-known bitter Italian aperitifs. For those who aren’t aware of what an aperitif is, it is essentially a light alcoholic beverage offered before a meal to stimulate the appetite.
Apéritifs are a type of liquid appetizer that may be offered to mingling guests at a dinner party or while making your meal on a regular night. They’re also a great way to unwind after a long day.
Apéritifs, which range from Campari and Aperol to cocktails such as the martini, provide a wonderful and tasty drinking experience.
What Does Campari Taste Like?
Campari is a delicious fruity yet bitter liqueur with an ABV ranging from 20.5 percent to 28.5 percent. Gaspare Campari, a mixologist, invented it after experimenting with tastes to produce a balanced, sweet, and bitter aperitif.
This aromatic liqueur with aromas of grapefruit, orange, herbs, spices, and bitters, remains the same as it was in 1860.
However, the specific formula for Campari is still unknown in fact to this day the only publicly known components used to make Campari are alcohol and water.
People have tried their best to crack this secret recipe but haven’t yet found out.
Campari’s prominent taste, according to experts, may be derived from chinottos, a tiny citrus fruit with a noticeable bitterness.
The signature red color of Campari was originally derived from Carmine dye, which was manufactured from cochineal insects, but its use was terminated in 2006.
Campari’s predominant flavor is a rich bittersweet orange, but it’s immensely nuanced, with scents of cherry, cinnamon, and clove, however, no one is certain if these ingredients are actually what is used to make Campari.
It’s one of the most bitter spirits you’ll ever try, but that’s what adds to its charm for many of its consumers.
What is the alcohol volume in Campari?
Depending on where it’s marketed, Campari is packaged at 20.5% to 28% alcohol by volume – ABV, 41 to 56 proof. It has a 24 percent ABV in the United States – 48 proof.
Why do People like Campari?
You’re probably wondering why Campari is so popular if it’s so bitter and no one even knows what its actual ingredients are.
Why do people enjoy drinking Campari? The vivid crimson Italian liqueur tends to elicit strong feelings of love or hatred in its consumers.
Some might hear the name and have a pleasant recollection of a cool Negroni while some might think they’d rather opt for cough syrup instead.
The Fans of Campari love it for its deep bitterness and natural sweetness, while detractors openly compare it to cough syrup.
Whatever your opinions are towards Campari, it’s a liqueur with an intriguing past that should be tried at least once in your lifetime.
Another reason to love it apart from its complex taste like no other is that Campari is used in numerous traditional cocktails as well as some fantastic classics. While it is extremely bitter, it is used to add complexity to sweet or sour drinks.
Plus, apart from the top five, it’s a wonderful second-tier liqueur to keep on hand.
Campari Price and Sizes?
Campari is a mid-priced liquor when compared to others. A 375 ml bottle costs around $20, while a 750 ml bottle costs between $25 and $30.
Is There A Specific Way One Must Consume Campari?
The most common way to drink Campari is in straightforward cocktails, most of which we’ve provided the recipe for in this blog and another way it is commonly taken is on the rocks.
It’s best taken as an aperitif before a meal to prepare the stomach for digestion. Because Campari has a distinct flavor, most people will not love it right away, but after a few sips, the palate adjusts to the bitterness.
It’s wise to ease into this bitterness at first.
As we just mentioned, most of the popular Campari-forward cocktails, such as the ever-popular Americano and Negroni might be intimidating for a new drinker.
It’s wise to start your Campari experience with Campari mixed in orange juice or another fruity drink. These beverages help to mask the harshness of Campari and prepare your taste buds to accept it in its purest form.
It’s worth the effort to broaden your palate, and a well-crafted Campari drink can elevate practically any meal.
Are There Any Substitutes For Campari?
This liqueur is one-of-a-kind and difficult to replicate. It’s easy to find at your neighborhood liquor store.
In a pinch, any red amaro or Aperol may be substituted, but Aperol is much sweeter. There is no ideal equivalent for Campari since it is unique.
However, you may make a Campari cocktail with a number of other apéritifs, each of which will lend its flavor to the cocktail.
Aside from Aperol, other noteworthy alternatives are Meletti 1870, Aperitivo, Leopold Bros, Tempus Fugit Gran Classico, and Luxardo Bitter.
Are Aperol and Campari the same?
Aperol can be said to be a close substitute to Campari as they are both Italian-made fruity, bitter spirits, however, they are definitely not the same.
Aperol has a brighter color, greater sweetness, and a strong orange taste note. Moreover, Aperol is nearly half as strong as Campari, measuring at around 11% ABV.
Aperol is widely regarded as the lighter and more accessible of the two spirits. A classic Aperol Spritz is made by combining it with sparkling wine.
Aperol is also less bitter and, because of its lower ABV, is considered the more refreshing spirit.
On the other hand, Campari is a more complex spirit. It has a stronger flavor and a higher alcohol content, ranging from 20.5 percent to 28.5 percent. Neither aperitif is a bad choice; it all depends on your preference.
What Are Some Of The Most Popular Campari Drinks?
Campari is mostly consumed as a shot or as an aperitif, however, it is most typically used in cocktails. Here are some of the most popular drinks made using Campari.
The classic Negroni
The Negroni is so simple to make and the easiest recipe to remember:
- Gin – 1 ounce
- Campari – 1 ounce
- Sweet vermouth – 1 ounce
- Ice – Handful
Stir the ingredients together in a mixing glass with 1 handful of ice for 30 seconds. This freezes and dilutes the cocktail. Strain and serve the delicious result.
One of the reasons for Campari’s long-term success is the Americano cocktail. It is the ideal vessel for the red bitter aperitif.
- Campari – 1 ½ ounce
- Sweet vermouth – 1 ½ Ounce
- Soda water – 1 ounce
- Lemon or orange slice
- Ice – handful
Fill an old-fashioned glass with ice, pour the Campari and Sweet Vermouth into the glass and top it off with a lemon or orange slice or peel and viola, the drink is ready to serve.
If you’re looking for the best way to cool yourself on a hot day, Campari spritz is the way to go! Cool, sparkling, bright, sweet, with just a tinge of bitterness.
- Prosecco – 3 ounces
- Campari – 2 ounces
- Club soda – 1 ounce
- Ice – Handful
- Orange – 1 or 2 slices
Fill your glass or tumbler with ice, add in the Campari, prosecco, and club soda and garnish it with the orange slice. Serve and enjoy!
It’s tingling, effervescent, and bursting with a zesty citrus taste. If you’re searching for a pre-breakfast beverage, this one is hard to top. Here’s how to make it.
- Dry white wine (preferably pinot grigio) – 3 ounces
- Campari – 2 ounces
- Club soda – Just to top
- Ice – Handful
- Orange – 2 wheels
For this recipe, fill the glass with your white wine and Campari first, then add in the ice. Top it with a little spritz of club soda and garnish with 2 orange wheels. Stir this mix gently and enjoy!
Campari and Soda
This simple yet powerful beverage was the favorite of Gaspare Campari! This timeless masterpiece is not to be missed.
- Club Soda
This classic literally takes up two minutes of your time, all you need to do is mix one part Campari with three parts club soda and throw in some ice to the mix for an easy, simple, and quick beverage fix.
There are a few other popular cocktails using Campari which you can browse on their site.
Conclusively, yes Campari may be harsh on the palate. However, it’s a very forgiving cocktail component.
All of the Campari classics, the Negroni, the Americano, the Spritz, and the Campari soda can simply be made by hand and served in any old-fashioned glass within a matter of minutes.
Campari complements almost all kinds of spirits especially, sparkling wine, white wine, and white spirits, as well as a surprising number of black drinks.
And, contrary to common opinion, the more you mix it with other immensely over complicated botanical beverages like sweet vermouth, gin, and cocktail bitters, the better it appears to get. The Negroni is an excellent example!
So, the next time you’re out shopping for spirits, pick up a bottle of Campari and experiment with any of the recipes mentioned above. The bitterness may take some time to grow on you, but it will!