The content in my glass is glistening like red rubies and i get thirsty by just looking at it. I know too well how completely satisfying a glass of Campari can be – on the rocks, with soda or orange juice.
From the land of bitter aperitifs and digestifs – Italy – we are blessed with a whole range of bitter aperifs and digestifs such as Campari, Aperol, Cynar, Ramazotti and Fernet Branca to name a few. These are all good for our digestion and has medical properties as well as wonderful flavors even though to many it`s an aquired taste. But give them a chance – you might get hooked.
These has been my companions for many years and my first accuintance with Campari was in right there in Italy where i had my first glass sitting at a restaurant in Napoli after we had a wonderful day in the beautiful island of Capri. My memories of that first glass are so (bitter) sweet.
I shall never forget the first chocking sip and then the next eventually leading to a long life love relationship with this wonderful apertif. Unusually maybe, i didn`t dislike it at all and came to love it very fast. Some people are just “bitter” types..
Italy is also the place where i also made my first experiences with vermouth, and therefore vermouth is to me also connected with that special atmosphere of Italy as well – which is a mèlange of tranquility and chaos – the lazy afternoon in the cooler shadows, the hot sun, the food, the fragrances…the chaotic traffic and the blue mediterranian sea.
Few things are to me so pleasant as a glass of Campari before a good meal and especially if that dinner was a pasta dinner with something like say – a lobster sauce. The typical and also the most tasty way to drink these bitter aperitifs and digestives is to keep it simple and enjoy them neat with ice and a slice of orange or lemon.
But they are also wonderful mixers for cocktails and there´s no limit to what you can do with them, especially Campari and Aperol are well suited for mixing. So my favorite above all – the Campari is what i used here for this post which really, is about playing with Campari.
And with it the very common but proved combination of fresh blood orange juice, (they just go hand in hand) – its hard to fail. I was going to stop there because nothing more is needed – but just for the heck of it i decided to rinse the glass with absinthe and for freshness, a sprinkle of lime juice and then something for the nose – fresh mint wrapped in lime peel.
This cocktail celebrates my sunny memories of Capri.
2 oz Campari
2 oz fresh blood orange juice
sprinkle of lime
Fill a rocks glass half full with large ice cubes, pour the ingredients and stir, add more ice and garnish with mint wrapped in lime peel and a slice of blood orange.
I discovered that the Campari almost overpowers the Absinthe – but its there even though quite subtle, so if you want more, just add a few extra drops.To me it was ok though as the emphasis is on the Campari, the Absinthe is just there to add a little subtle tingle, something i think Absinthe is very good for.
Another classic Campari drink that never a fails is the Campari and Soda, just a splash of each, ice and lemon or orange wedge in the glass..unbeatable! Here is another take on this refreshing drink that uses fresh mint and crushed ice.
CAMPARI AND SODA WITH MINT
Take 10 mint leaves and muddle with 1/4 oz simple syrup, add 2 oz campari and stir with ice to mix, then strain into a rocks glass with crushed ice and top up with Soda. Add a sprinkle of fresh lime and garnish with mint and a lime wedge.
Unfortunately the old Campari (the one with cochineal) is no more produced and what is available here is the new one. Even if the flavour difference maybe isn´t that dramatical its still there – very subtle but there`s a difference. R.I.P Old Campari.
I think they also have made some new artsy labels for Campari, making it more classy and modern in style – which i don`t particularly like, i like it the old style – not too fancy but more down to earth genuine, the way it always been.
Campari is one of my absolute favorite spirits. please don`t destroy it.