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What Does Campari Taste Like?

Campari, an Italian liquor, evokes a strong love-hate relationship. Fans laud the drink’s rich and complex bitterness, while detractors believe it tastes like cough syrup. Its history is equally remarkable, with a fascinating backstory and some amazing liqueur facts. With overtones of orange peel, cherry, clove, and cinnamon, Campari has a powerful, bittersweet flavor. It’s one of the most bitter liqueurs on the market today.


The first Campari drink was invented in 1860 in Novara, Italy, and was originally known as Bitter Uso Olanda. In its early years, the Italian brand was quite successful, and a short advertisement in the Corriere Della Sera daily helped solidify its status as a popular liqueur. Campari’s color was originally derived from the carmine found in female cochineal insects. While carmine is still used in some liqueurs, it is now normally labeled with artificial coloring and the colors used.

What is Campari?

Campari is a bitter orange-flavored liquor popular among Italian cocktail drinkers. Gaspare Campari created Campari in 1860 to sell in Novara, Italy. It started with a dye made from crushed Cochineal insects, which turned the liquid red. In 2006, they stopped mixing the drink with such colors.

Campari’s characteristic flavor is attributable to oranges and rhubarb leaves, which give it a strong and delicious flavor. Campari is frequently combined with vermouth, soda water, and orange juice in the popular Aperitivo cocktail. It can also be used in a Campari & Soda, a shot of Campari over ice, or in a Negroni, which can be served on the rocks or swirled over iced tea for a delicious summer drink.

Due to maturing, the color fluctuates from brilliant crimson to dark-reddish brown, giving it an amber appearance when light shines through it (albeit there are no grapes or fermentation involved).

What does Campari Taste Like?

Campari is a brilliant crimson liqueur created with bitters, water, and fruit. It has a powerful bitter flavor with strong citrus undertones, ideal for cocktails like the Negroni or the Americano. The taste of Campari is unmistakably acquired.

It has a bitter and tangy flavor with undertones of orange peel, vanilla orchid extract, and bittersweet chocolate, which can be sweetened by adding club soda. Campari is a powerful and complex drink with prominent orange, clove, and cinnamon flavors. To counteract the bitterness of the alcohol, a large amount of sugar is required.

A tumbler of Campari has a harsh aroma similar to that of orange rinds and bitter greens. However, tasting it reveals a lot more. The bitterness is still present at the beginning and end, but there are flavors of sweet cherry and orange and a spicy edge suggestive of cinnamon. The sweetness gets more noticeable the longer you drink it. The bitterness, on the other hand, never goes away.

The harshness is the only aftertaste. Of course, if you eat it before a meal, you won’t notice it for long. It’s clearly an acquired taste, but I was beginning to enjoy it by the time I’d finished a shot. I do, however, enjoy arugula and other bitter flavors.

What does Campari Consist Of?

Gaspare Campari established a secret formula for Campari in Novara in 1860. This drink was originally intended to be served after dinner, but it grew popular during America’s prohibition era when people were not permitted to order alcoholic beverages. Campari rapidly became one of the most well-known bitters globally, with a global following.

Water and alcohol are the only known ingredients in Campari. According to the firm, these are combined and infused with “bitter herbs, fragrant botanicals, and fruit.” The specific recipe is a closely guarded secret — numerous ingredients may be utilized, but not all of them are disclosed, and some may stay unknown. Some believe that the bitterness required for the drink’s moniker is provided by the chinotto citrus fruit.

According to the company, the ABV in Campari bottles varies between 20 and 30 percent. 5% and 28%, respectively. It is, however, often offered at a rate of 24 percent. The carmine dye is responsible for Campari’s trademark red hue. In 2006, the firm converted to artificial dyes, but the dye varies depending on where Campari is distributed (some countries still use natural sources). It should appear either as a “fake color” or as a list of individually recognized hues.

What is Similar to Campari?

Alternatives to Campari

Red Amaro

What’s the finest Campari alternative? This is a crimson amaro. Campari belongs to the Amaro family of bitter Italian liqueurs. Knight Gabriello Rosso Amaro or Aperix Aperativo are two options. These red amaros are bittersweet and herbaceous, but they don’t have the same flavor as Campari. They’re also the same hue!


In a pinch, what’s a good Campari substitute? Aperol. Another amaro, or Italian bitter, is Aperol. On the other hand, Aperol is orange (rather than bright red), sweet with a citrus finish (rather than bitter), and has a far lower alcohol concentration. More information can be found at Campari vs. Aperol.

Despite the significant differences, Aperol is effective in a pinch! If you use it in a Negroni or other cocktail, keep in mind that the drink will be sweeter, citrusy, and less boozy.

Campari vs. Aperol

Gruppo Campari owns Aperol, a popular Italian aperitif, as well as Campari. Aperol is brilliant orange, while Campari has a reddish red hue. Both Campari and Aperol are aperitifs, which means they’re great with a drink in the evening. In terms of flavor, both have a bitter orange flavor.

Campari has a stronger bitterness than Aperol or most other drinks due to its higher proof alcohol level. The red color of Campari originates from the herb of the same name, and it has a stronger flavor than Aperol, which is created with gentian roots. Campari is also unique because it contains quinine, a substance extracted from cinchona bark. This bittering chemical provides Campari its distinct bitterness and, in most situations, enriches the drink.

Aperol has a less bittersweet flavor, but it still has traces of citrusy oranges, making it recognizable as an aperitif drink to blend with cocktails or salad dressings for added zest. It’s not for everyone, though, and if you’ve never had an Aperol spritz before, getting acclimated to the flavor may take some time.

Is it Possible to Drink Campari Straight?

Depending on how much you enjoy the bitter aftertaste of Campari, you may enjoy it best neat, on the rocks, or mixed with club soda. The percentage of alcohol by volume, or proof, can range anywhere from 21.5-to 28.5 percent in different countries.

What is the Best Way to Drink Campari?

Gaspare Campari invented Campari in 1860, although it didn’t become popular until later. It’s an aperitif and cocktail mixer from Italy, with an official website full of cocktail recipes to enjoy at home or elsewhere. Because of its versatility and robust flavor, it is one of today’s most popular aperitifs.

It can be consumed with or without mixers, in cocktails with it as the base spirit, on ice as an after-dinner drink, or in various other ways. Many bartenders’ go-to concoction these days? The Negroni is a classic cocktail that combines gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari.


How do You Make Campari Negroni?

It is a bittersweet blend of alcohol and citrus for those unfamiliar with the Campari Negroni. He devised this recipe when Count Camillo Negroni asked for gin instead of his normal Americano at Café Casoni in Florence in the 1920s. He enjoyed it so much that he ordered another, but the new drink was soon named after him.

How to make one is as follows:

  • In a mixing glass, combine Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth.
  • Stir in rice until well cold.
  • Over one huge cube of ice, strain into an old-fashioned (or any other) glass.
  • Serve with an orange slice or twist as a garnish.

Campari Negroni is typically served as an aperitif before dinner, but it can also be consumed afterward. Heavy drinkers may want to consider splitting this cocktail with pals because it packs a punch. If you like a cocktail that isn’t quite as robust as this one, the Americano is a good choice. Just keep in mind that there is no sweet without bitter.

How Should Campari be Stored?

Campari can be kept just like any other type of liquor in a cool place outside of the sun, and it has an infinite shelf life as long as it is unopened. If you want to enjoy an open bottle’s contents to their fullest potential, you should replace the cap immediately after opening it with the one that came with the bottle, seal it with the original cap, and consume it within one year.

Is it Necessary to Keep Campari in the Refrigerator?

If you don’t finish that open bottle of fruity, botanical Campari within a couple of days, put it in the fridge to retain the flavor. Because of the way it’s prepared and the % alcohol concentration, DeBary says it’s unnecessary to keep this chilled.


Campari is a liqueur with a reddish-orange color widely used in cocktails. The presence of red amaro gives it a vivid red hue, while Campari is spicier. Campari’s bitterness comes from the dried cochineal beetles used in its production. Instead of carmine, it now employs red food coloring. While it is a bitter liqueur, when blended with sugar, it becomes sweet. Your friends will doubt if you’re serious about a cocktail because of its sugary flavor. A shot of it can even be added to a salad for a refreshing delight.

When it comes to Campari, it’s a bitter drink with citrus, clove, herbaceousness, and sweetness components. It’s a little bitter, but a little of it is a little sweeter than other liqueurs. Campari is a strong and potent liqueur that is frequently offered before meals. This alcoholic beverage should not be drunk straight.