Campari: Bitter, Sweet, Delicious


In honor of Negroni week beginning June 1, it seems fitting to write about Campari. Many know it as the weird reddish-orange stuff collecting dust with all the other useless mixers and aperitifs, but don’t know how to use it. So here is a brief rundown for anyone who’s ever wondered what the heck this stuff actually is.

Campari is a bitter Italian aperitivo that was invented by Gaspare Campari in 1860 in Novara, Italy. It is made from infusing herbs and fruits in alcohol. It is bottled at 48 proof in America. Its bitterness is derived from cinchona bark and gentian root, and until 2006, its distinctive color came from the addition of a dye made of crushed cochineal insects. Rhubarb, orange peel, and chinotto are among its other ingredients. Though known for its bitterness, Campari is also spicy and sweet. It is most notably used in the Negroni cocktail, although it is common in many classic and contemporary cocktails. It is also popular with club soda over ice.

Listed below are our recipes for two great Campari cocktails, the classic Negroni and Guild Tavern’s own Roberto Flamenco:


1 oz. Gin
1 oz Campari
1 oz Sweet Vermouth

1: Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass, add ice, and stir.
2: Julep Strain over a large ice cube into a Double Old Fashioned Glass.
3: Garnish with an orange peel.

Roberto Flamenco

1.5 oz. Silver Tequila
1 oz. fresh lime juice
3/4 oz. orgeat
1/2 oz. Campari
1/4 oz. Creme Yvette
2 dashes Angostura bitters

1: Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, add ice, shake
2: Double strain over ice into a Collin Glass
3: Garnish with an orange peel