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A must-have Italian liqueur for all lovers of subtle and sophisticated drinks, Campari is a must-have in your bar! To be enjoyed raw or in cocktails, this liqueur brings a unique character to your parties. In this article, discover Campari, 5 easy recipes to surprise your guests for sure and the alternatives to the Italian liqueur!
What is Campari?
Campari is a bitter Italian liqueur that stands out for its bright red color and unique taste.
This aperitif drink is made from a mixture of plants and aromatic herbs, such as rhubarb, bitter orange, gentian and cinchona. Campari is best enjoyed as an aperitif, served over ice or mixed with soda or sparkling water. The liqueur is also a perfect addition to many famous cocktails, such as the Negroni, the Americano or the Campari Spritz.
Despite its bitter taste, Campari is very appreciated for the complexity of flavors it offers in your mouth. In any case, if you have never tasted Campari, I strongly advise you to try it!
The different types of Campari
Campari is an Italian bitter liqueur famous all over the world for its atypical taste. Although it is mainly known for its original formula, today there are several variations of Campari that offer different flavors.
Among the most popular, Campari Soda is one of the variants of Campari, pre-mixed with carbonated water. You can find it served in cans or in small glass bottles. Campari Orange is also a variant of Campari. It is premixed with orange juice, making it a refreshing and fruity drink. We can also mention the Campari Negroni or the Campari Aperol Spritz.
5 recipes based on Campari
The Campari Orange is a simple cocktail to make. You will need :
- 5 cl of Campari
- 10 cl of fresh orange juice
- Orange slices
In a cocktail glass, add some ice cubes. Pour 5 cl of Campari over the ice cubes. Add 10 cl of fresh orange juice and mix gently with a spoon. Garnish with an orange slice and serve immediately.
Tip: You can add a pinch of sugar or replace the fresh orange juice with grapefruit or lime juice.
To really enjoy your aperitif drink, you can add olives or pickled gherkins to add a salty, tangy flavor that goes well with the bitter taste of Campari. Or, add toasted almonds or cashews to add a crunchy texture and a slightly sweet taste, which contrasts perfectly with the bitterness of the cocktail. You can also offer your guests mini toasts with fresh cheese or tapenade to add a rich texture that complements the fruity taste of your Campari Orange.
The Campari Spritz is a refreshing and popular Italian cocktail. To make it quickly, you’ll need:
- 6 cl of Prosecco
- 4 cl of Campari
- Sparkling water
- A slice of lemon or star fruit
- Ice cubes
In a large wine glass, fill to the brim with ice cubes. Pour 6 cl of Prosecco into the glass. Add 4 cl of Campari. Fill the glass with sparkling water. Stir lightly, add a slice of orange for garnish, and serve chilled.
The Campari Spritz is a very refreshing cocktail and pairs well with a variety of dishes. For example, you can serve your cocktail with Italian antipasti made with cured meats, cheeses and grilled vegetables. Or, fresh seafood, such as oysters, mussels or shrimp. Campari Spritz also enhances the flavor of fish dishes such as grilled salmon with herbs.
Campari Soda is an easy cocktail to make and can be prepared in no time. Here are the essential ingredients for your homemade cocktail:
- 6 cl of Campari
- Soda water
- A slice of orange, pineapple or combava
- Ice cubes
In a large wine glass, fill to the brim with ice cubes. Pour 6 cl of Campari into the glass. Fill the glass with sparkling water. Stir gently. Add a slice of orange for garnish and serve immediately.
Campari Soda is a cocktail that can be enjoyed with a variety of dishes and snacks such as fresh seafood, toasted almonds, cashews or salted pistachios, fresh or aged cheeses such as feta, ricotta or parmesan. You can also add a little crunch to your appetizer with a plate of raw vegetables, such as carrots, cucumbers or radishes, with a light yogurt or hummus dip.
Campari Americano Martini
The Americano Martini is a modern twist on the famous Americano cocktail that uses Campari, sweet vermouth and vodka. You’ll need:
- 3 cl Campari
- 3 cl of sweet vermouth
- 3 cl of vodka
- Orange peel (for garnish)
- Ice cubes
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes, pour 3 cl of Campari, 3 cl of sweet vermouth and 3 cl of vodka. Shake dynamically for about 10 seconds. Strain the mixture into a chilled martini glass. Add an orange peel for garnish. Serve immediately.
You can enjoy the Americano Martini with fresh oysters, grilled shrimp or sushi, but also with grilled vegetables, such as asparagus, peppers or a summer salad with exotic fruits. On the sweet side, opt for light and fruity desserts, such as strawberry tart or raspberry sorbet.
Sour Cherry Americano Campari
Here are the ingredients to prepare a Sour Cherry Americano:
- 60 ml Campari
- 30 ml red vermouth
- 30 ml sour cherry juice
- Soda water
- Ice cubes
- Fresh cherries for garnish
Start by filling a red wine glass with ice. In a cocktail shaker, mix the Campari, red vermouth and sour cherry juice. Pour the mixture into the red wine glass filled with ice. Top off the glass with sparkling water. Stir lightly with a spoon to mix the ingredients. Finally, garnish the glass with a fresh cherry or two!
To enjoy the subtleties of this cocktail, serve it with seafood appetizers: steamed shrimp bites, cod acras or fish fritters.
What are the alternatives to Campari?
There are several alternatives to Campari that can be used in cocktails or similar drinks. For example:
- Aperol: this is an Italian aperitif similar to Campari, but a little less bitter. It is often used in the famous Spritz cocktail.
- Cynar: this is another Italian aperitif, made from artichokes. It is more bitter than Aperol, but less than Campari.
- Gran Classico: this Swiss aperitif is also made from bitter herbs and spices, but it has a more complex and less sweet flavor than Campari.
- Select: An Italian aperitif made with bitter orange and other herbs and spices. It has a similar flavor to Campari, but is a bit sweeter.
- Punt e Mes: a slightly bitter Italian vermouth with a sweet flavor. It can be used as a substitute for Campari in some cocktails.