Words by Simon Difford
Campari is the best-known but there is a myriad of other similar bright crimson-coloured bittersweet liqueurs. The vibrant red colour, powerful flavour and attractive bitterness makes these aperitif style liqueurs versatile and popular cocktail ingredients.
Follows our 20 best such cocktails:
With: Campari, sweet vermouth and soda water.
We say: The famous light aperitivo. Bitter, fizzy, long and refreshing.
With: Campari, soda water and white wine.
We say: Basically the same as a Veneziano Spritz but with equal proportions wine to Italian red bitter liqueur.
With: Campari, bourbon and sweet vermouth.
We say: A Negroni with bourbon replacing gin.
With: Campari, orange marmalade, dry gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup and orange bitters.
We say: The addition of Campari and aromatic bitters to the classic recipe from the 1930 The Savoy Cocktail Book, lifts the Marmalade Cocktail to a new level of bittersweet complexity.
With: Campari, dry gin, green gapes, lemon juice and sugar syrup.
We say: Think Negroni but with citrus freshness and grape fruitiness.
With: Campari, sugar syrup and orange juice.
We say: A fabulous brunch cocktail.
With: Campari, dry gin, triple sec, lemon juice and sugar syrup.
We say: A slightly sour bittersweet riff on the Pegu Club. The original is just on the tart side of balanced without our addition of the optional spoon of sugar syrup.
With: Campari, dark rum, pineapple juice, lime juice and sugar syrup.
We say: Bittersweet and fruity with pungent rum notes sipped through crushed ice. Properly Tiki-tastic.
With: Campari, dry gin, amaretto, passion fruit syrup and lemon juice.
We say: Amaretto and passion fruit dominate this bittersweet sour.
With: Campari, dry gin and tonic water.
We say: A traditional Gin & Tonic with a splash of Campari adding colour and bittersweet herbal fruity complexity.
With: Campari and sweet vermouth.
We say: The drink that led to both the Negroni and the Americano. Pause and enjoy its simplicity before progressing.
With: Campari, dry gin and sweet vermouth.
We say: Bitter and dry, but very tasty. This no namby-pamby drink is traditionally assembled and mixed directly in the glass.
With: Campari, dry gin, Cynar and sweet vermouth.
We say: Campari fans will love this Negroni riff.
With: Campari, dry gin, pink grapefruit juice, lime juice and sugar syrup.
We say: Dry, bitter, very refreshing and mouth puckering with grapefruit and gin bittered and coloured by red Italian bitters.
With: Campari, dry gin, pink grapefruit juice and elderflower liqueur.
We say: Tart, dry and lightly bitter, but with just enough underlying sweetness to stroke the palate and make another sip so very desirable - a complex, bittersweet taste sensation. Brilliant as an aperitif on a hot summer's evening.
With: Campari, rye whiskey and bianco vermouth.
We say: This Negroni-style cocktail riff on the Old Pal, with bianco vermouth which has a more mellowing effect on the whiskey than the dry vermouth traditionally used in the Old Pal.
With: Campari, fino sherry, vermouth di Torino and blood orange liqueur.
We say: Dry sherry and bitter orange with underlying ripe grape sweetness, The Ribbon makes for a perfect aperitif cocktail.
With: Campari, dry gin, sloe gin and rosé vermouth.
We say: Lighter in colour and more mellow in flavour than a classic Negroni with sloe gin adding richness and subtle berry flavours.
With: Campari, limoncello, sweet vermouth and soda water.
We say: Bittersweet with pleasing rich lemon zestiness from the limoncello.
With: Campari, prosecco and soda water.
We say: Basically, a Spritzer with a generous splash of Italian red bitter liqueur - dry and very refreshing.
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