Campari is an aperitif Amaro invented near Milan, Italy in 1860 by Gaspare Campari. While the recipe is a secret and known to very few, it is thought to contain Chinotto, a bitter, citrus fruit brought to Italy from China.
Campari is bright red, now due to artifical color. Before 2006, the color of Campari was due to the use of Carmine, derived from the cochineal beetle. Some people are severly allergic to this coloring, and others have objections due to following vegetarianism, or religious dietary laws.
Campari initially smells fruity, somewhere between pomegranate and cherry. It is moderately sweet, and fairly low alcohol (anywhere between 40 proof and 56 proof depending on where you buy it). It has a firm, dry bitterness like black pepper and quinine, which lingers tremendously.
Some popular cocktails containing Campari
- Not Strawberry Margarita — Tequila, Triple sec, Campari, Lime juice
- Kir Gaspare — Champagne, Campari, Triple sec, Grapefruit juice
- Monk's Revenge — Bénédictine, Rye, Fernet Branca, Campari
- 1794 — Rye, Campari, Sweet vermouth, Bitters, Orange peel
- The Adams — Bourbon, Sweet vermouth, Campari, Kummel, Bitters