Italian red bitter liqueurs

Words by Simon Difford

Italian red bitter liqueurs image 1

There are numerous Italian bright crimson-coloured bittersweet liqueurs, but Campari is the best-known internationally. Campari is on the drier side of bittersweet than some others and they tend to be 20% to 28% alc./vol.. These apéritif liqueurs are flavoured with an infusion of herbs and fruits (including chinotto, cascarilla and grapefruit) in beet neutral alcohol and water.

The brilliant red colour that typifies these liqueurs was originally due to the use of carmine dye, derived from crushed cochineal (Dactylopius coccus) beetles, but most brands (including Campari) now use alternative colourings.