The first thing to know is, if you order Campari with soda or fruit juice at a restaurant or bar, you’ll probably get Bacardi. It happened to me a few times before I wised-up and made sure the waiter understood by saying, “Campari not Bacardi.” Wait staff may not be familiar with Campari. Maybe it’s a regional thing.
If you order or mix Campari and soda, you’ll have a brilliantly red, very dry, clean and refreshing drink for a hot summer afternoon or a palate cleanser and tummy soother after lunch at your favorite Tex-Mex restaurant. It is perfect before dinner because it’s among the best of all palate cleansers. Believe me, your dinner will taste better.
I prefer mine in a shorter cocktail glass rather than a tall cooler-type glass. I use 1-1/2 ounces of Campari with good quality club soda to taste, and a semi-generous twist of lime, or an orange slice if I have one in the house. See a video below.
Bitters began as a health tonic or digestif. Campari’s ingredient base is secret, but a few things are known: Campari is a blend of gingseng, oranges, rhubarb, cascarilla bark and herbs – secret herbs. Alcohol and simple syrup are added along the way in a fairly complex maturation process.
Did I lose you at rhubarb? I hope not. I have never tasted rhubarb in Campari, but then I’ve seldom tasted rhubarb. I do notice the gingseng, oranges, and a bark, although I couldn’t name what bark I’m tasting. A very attractive feature to my taste is a lack of acidity. I love that. Just a little spice and so smooth.
Campari is one of my favorite drinks of all times and among all categories. Looking all red-and-luscious, you might think Campari is a sweet drink – but you would be wrong. Campari is very, very dry. When you try Campari and soda the first time you understand what cleansing your palate is all about. I am a huge fan, whether dining soon or not, loved it from the first sip, but I’m told it really is an acquired taste, so order one out before you buy a bottle, or start with a cocktail made with fruit juice if you’re hesitant, but the goal is to enjoy Campari for it’s fresh boldness that leaves you and your mouth feeling fabulous.
Find recipes below along with some of the Campari Calendar Girls, because Campari is definitely art in a glass.
A single bottle of Campari is the combination of many mysterious ingredients
What can be known about Campari is this: Its dry ingredients are soaked in water for two days, mixed with alcohol and more water, and steeped in huge vats for 15 days. The color of the brew at the end of this period is brown, and the taste is bitter—really bitter, as in undrinkable. The liquid is then drained off into blending tanks and the macerated dregs are pressed for more juice, like a tea bag; the soggy remains are boiled to distill more alcohol. Finally, the sweetening syrup and the coloring—from cochineal dye (a commonly used colorant made from the dried bodies of cochineal insects)—are added. Source: Saveur
I recommend when a recipe calls for 2 oz Campari, you experiment with less (1-1/2 oz or 1-3/4 oz).
The Classic Campari and Soda: 2 oz Campari over ice. Fill with club soda and stir.
The Delicious Campari: 2 oz Campari over ice. Fill with orange juice and stir.
The Exotic Campari: 2 oz Campari over ice. Fill with grapefruit juice and stir.
The Gingerfly: 2 oz Campari over ice. Fill with 50% club soda and 50% ginger ale, a squeeze of lemon and stir.
The Superb – Shakerato: Chill Campari first, ten pour 2 oz. in a shaker with some ice cubes. Shake well and strain into cocktail glass
1-1/2 oz sweet vermouth
1-1/2 oz Campari
1-1/2 oz gin
Orange slice or twist for garnish
Pour the insgredients into an old-fahsioned glass with ice cubes
Garnish with the orange slice.
1 oz Campari
1 oz sweet vermouth
Lemon twist or orange slice for garnish:
Fill an old-fashioned glass with ice cubes
Add the Campari and vermouth
Top off with Club Soda
Garnish with the lemon twist or orange slice.
The Trendy – versions of the Mojito:
1 part Campari
1/2 part lime mint (the mint herb with lime essence)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Splash of sparkling water
Prepare the drink in a juice glass. Place lime and brown sugar in the glass and crush to a pulp. Add mint and lightly crush. Fill the rest of the glass with crushed ice. Add Campari and gently stir. Garnish with a sprig of mint.
2 to 4 ounces good tonic water, such as Fevertree or Q Tonic
Place the mint sprigs in a large glass or cocktail shaker, and add the lime juice and rum. Muddle with a muddler or a wooden spoon for several minutes, crushing the mint and releasing its aroma. Add the Campari and a few cubes of ice, and shake or stir until well chilled.
Fill a 12-ounce highball glass with crushed ice and squeeze a lime wedge over top. Pour in enough tonic water to fill the glass a quarter full, then pour in the strained Campari mixture. Garnish with a little more tonic water, the second lime wedge, and mint. Best with a straw!
I found a recipe for a Campari mojito on Campari’s website. Then I got to thinking about what an insane amount of basil I already have so early in the summer, wondering if that would suffice in place of the mint. To make a long story short, I’ll make it with basil rather than mint every single time. The sweet, licorice flavor of the basil works beautifully with the bitter Campari.
Makes 1 cocktail
2 oz Campari
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 oz lime juice
1/4 cup basil leaves, loosely packed
Basil leaves for garnish
In the bottom of a cocktail shaker or glass, add the brown sugar, lime juice and 1/4 cup basil leaves. Muddle together with a muddler or a spoon until the sugar has mostly dissolved into the lime juice and there is a nice basil scent released from the leaves.
Add the Campari and stir well to combine. Fill a Collins glass or other glass with crushed ice. Pour the Campari-basil mixture over the ice and top with a splash of sparkling water. Serve with basil leaves for garnish.
3 sprigs fresh mint
3/4 oz Simple Syrup (1 part sugar, 1 part water)
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz. Campari
1.5 oz Flor de Caña Rum (or try your fav)
1 oz Prosecco
Garnish: mint sprig
In a shaker, muddle the mint, syrup and lemon juice. add the Campari and rum, and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice. Top with prosecco and garnish with a mint sprig.
Salute: (Sah loo tay) (to your health)