One of the dominant amaro/bitter tonics in the world.
Notes: Made with over 60 different herbs, the primary being bitter orange, angostura, and gentian. The history of Campari began in Novara in 1860, with the invention of the original recipe that is still in use today. In 1904 Campari’s first production plant was opened in Sesto San Giovanni and the company began to export the brand overseas. It is now distributed in over 190 countries.
First Impression: Aromatic bitter orange with a host of aromatic, bitter, and earthy herbal notes wrapping around the orange. Sweet, bitter, alkali and acidic do a complex dance.
Appearance: Maraschino cherry juice red, or cherry red hydraulic fluid red – a very striking red and unmistakable in a drink. On swirling, leaves a coating on the glass with many long thin legs developing.
Taste: Heavy oily entry with a bitter orange, woodruff, rosemary, lemon, gentian, quinine, cassia, cardamom, cinnamon ,orris root, tansy, angelica, fennel, wormwood and a bewildering mix of about 50 more botanicals.
Drinks: Of course one cannot make a Negroni or Americano without this bitter. Also great with soda water – my favorite cooling drink while I was digging our pond by hand – could not have dug it without the Campari – even if it took a bit longer. An interesting spirit to work with a lot of nuances that can be teased out with the right mix of other ingredients.
Bottle: Clear glass bottle, cylindrical with a rounded shoulder 3/4 of the way up and a slightly large neck with a screwtop closure. Nicely done antique label has not changed and gives it a classic, timeless look.
Other: Makers of a number of other products – such as Aperol and Cynar-(very under appreciated bitters in my opinion).
Final Thoughts: A very versatile bitters with a distinctive or striking coloration that helps the aesthetics of a cocktail that calls for a bitter component (many of the others are brown or medicinal black in color).