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Campari is a world famous bitter Italian liqueur, whose story begins way back in 1860. The apéritif is prepared by mixing aromatic plants and bitter herbs, fruits, water and alcohol.

The original recipe for the production of Campari is kept a well-guarded secret but what has reached the public is how they obtain the pleasant red color of the beverage - by using the cochineal insect, which is generally used to make harmless red dyes.

What's also known is another of the main ingredients of Campari - the bark of a special type of tree that grows in the Bahamas. Even though the general public knows the main ingredients of the liqueur, the exact ratios between them is a mystery.

History of Campari

The history of the Italian liqueur Campari began in the 19th century in Italy, its father thought to be the Italian Gaspare Campari. An interesting fact is that he once worked as a drink maker in Turin at the Bass Bar, the same bar where another world famous Italian would have his name become an icon - Alessandro Martini.

In 1860, the future father of Campari left the bar to open his own cafe in the city of Novara, which he called Coffee for Friends. It was there that Gaspare began working on developing his own signature recipes.

His efforts would eventually pay off and lead to the birth of a new star on the stage - the liqueur Campari, which has a bitter taste and contains about 60 different ingredients. In 1860, Campari finalized his recipe and moved to Milan, where he opened his 2nd cafe.

At the time, his cafe was exceptionally popular and became a meeting point for movers and shakers, such as politicians and businessmen. A frequent visitor to the cafe was the king of Italy himself - Vittorio Emanuele (the cafe was called Galleria Vittorio Emanuele). All this helped not only the cafe's popularity but also the rapidly growing fame of the new bitter beverage with the beautiful red color.

Campari's business continued to grow, while his son from his 2nd marriage, Davide Campari, contributed greatly to the family business with his innovative concepts. It was he who introduced marketing methods to be used by his father's company. And this eventually led to the 1st advertisement of Campari liqueur in the best-selling Italian newspaper - Corriere della Sera. Years later, Campari's first calendar would come out as well.

But Gaspare Campari would not stop experimenting and creating new drinks until the end of the 19th century, even though the #1 spot would still be held by his 1st creation.

Campari with Vermouth

The dynamic story of the liqueur continued. In 1904, the family company also founded its 1st mass production of the liqueur in Sesto San Giovanni. At the same time, new cafes opened up in Italy, where friends could meet and the consumption of apéritifs skyrocketed.

Davide was fully aware of the favorable circumstances and introduced new policies for Campari advertising in the cafes themselves. In 1920, as expected, Campari's son took over management of the company, began focusing only on Campari production and stopped making any other types of drinks.

It was time for the company to go beyond the borders of Italy and begin reaping its well-deserved international fame. The next 2 countries to begin production of the cocktail were Switzerland and France.

10 years later, in 1930, Campari achieved grandiose successes with the most popular cocktail that the brand had ever created - Negroni.

Eventually, Campari would flourish in other countries as well and today the company has its own production and representatives in over 190 countries. The modern-day company focuses not only on its most famous liqueur but a number of other liqueurs, wines and sodas.

Serving Campari

Traditionalists drink their Campari mixed with 2 parts soda water and 1 part of the bitter liqueur. Ice is an absolute must for this beverage, while a slice of orange adds the finishing touches to the cocktail.

Another way of serving Campari is to use a citrus juice instead of soda water - orange is best. Avoid combining it with juices that are too bitter, such as grapefruit juice.

Campari itself has quite a bitter and specific taste and is not at all suitable for combining with something just as bitter. The taste of orange juice is the perfect complement to Campari.

Even if you don't follow any specific recipes, what's important to know about making cocktails with Campari is that the liqueur goes excellent with carbonated water, vermouth, champagne, orange juice and grenadine.

In most cases, Campari is drunk as an apéritif and is served with food but everyone can consume it according to their tastes - on its own, as well as served with some nuts, olives or other desired product.

Campari Cocktails

Cocktails with Campari

Negroni is hands-down the most famous cocktail with Campari.

Ingredients: 2 tbsp gin, 2 tbsp Campari, 2 tbsp vermouth (red), 1 orange and several ice cubes.

Preparation: Prepare a glass and fill it with ice cubes, pour in the remaining ingredients, garnish with orange slices and serve immediately.

Another very easy cocktail is Campari Soda, for which you will need about 2/3 cup soda, 1/5 cup Campari, ice and an orange.

Preparation: Put the ice in a suitable tall glass and pour in the Campari. Squeeze out the orange juice and pour in the soda. Decorate with slices of orange and serve.

The next famous cocktail with Campari is the Americano. It requires 2 tbsp Campari, 2 tbsp soda and 2 tbsp vermouth, as well as an orange slice.

Preparation: Fill a shaker with ice, add the Campari and vermouth, shake and pour into a tall glass filled with ice. Pour in the soda, decorate with an orange slice.


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