Campari is as Italian as Ferraris, gondolas and good looking tanned guys with long hair. The bitter taste puts it in the aperitif category, giving it the characteristics required to get you hungry before you eat.
The very distinctive red colour was originally extracted from the shells of cochineal insects, which produced a red carmine dye. The 21st century has, however, found an alternative. Nonetheless, it still makes for a good story.
The taste can be a little bitter for some palates at first, but it certainly grows on anyone who challenges themself to find its subtle nuances. Next time you’re lost for a pre-dinner beverage, Campari should be at the top of your list.
Perfect on the rocks, with a slice of orange, it also pairs perfectly with soda and tonic as well as orange and grapefruit juice.
For the more adventurous and cocktail-minded, you could try the Americano. This drink was reportedly created in Milan when American tourists first started to visit the area in large numbers. The American tourists couldn’t handle the bitterness of the product on its own like the natives, so bartenders added sweet vermouth and topped it with soda. The name is somewhat of a dig at the weak American’s palates, but at the time it’s almost certain the tourists found it as an endearing gesture.
From the Americano we also get the other famous Campari cocktail, the Negroni. As the story goes, the famous Count Camillo Negroni once asked a bartender for an Americano, but with a twist. Being the tough man that he was, Negroni didn’t need soda and instead asked for gin. And so was born one of the greatest equal parts cocktails any person can ever order, no matter the occasion.
30ml Cinzano Sweet Vermouth
Stir down over ice, serve with an orange wedge. If you’re super keen, make your own massive ice blocks at home to keep the drink cool without our old foe dilution creeping in and ruining the drink.