One of the all time great liqueurs, instantly recognisable with its famous red hue.
Campari was created by Gaspare Campari in Novara, Italy in the cellars of his coffee shop, between the years 1860 and 1867. Gaspare did a good trade – his shop was found opposite Milan’s historic Duomo cathedral. However, the liqueur first achieved fame when Gaspare moved his operation to the Galleria Vittoria Emanuele, Milan’s central shopping mall.
The liqueur is made to a jealously guarded secret recipe, containing some 68 different ingredients. We do know that the liqueur includes quinine, ginseng, orange peel, herbs and rhubarb that are macerated in a mixture of water and alcohol. The liqueur originally used cochineal colouring, but has since changed to an artificial non-animal colourant, and it is this that gives Campari its famous red hue.
Campari delivers flavours of rich blood orange, sherbet, quinine, intensely bitter dried herbs, peppery spice, zesty orange rind, cherry, mint, tart berry flavours, earthy spice, cinnamon and clove.
It is an acquired taste, but it is a delicious one, particularly good over ice with a slice of orange, or with soda water (in Italy it is sold pre-bottled with soda at strength of 10% ABV).
Campari is, of course, a required ingredient in many classic and modern cocktails, including the Negroni, the Americano, the Garibaldi (Campari and orange juice), and the Tiki classic, the Jungle Bird.
Simply put, this is a must have for any bar or budding home mixologist!