CampariA good friend of mine is traveling the Italian Riviera right now and sending back the most gorgeous pictures. Each of the tiny towns she’s visited appear to gush with an über-relaxed and oh-so-Italian vibe from which the phrase ‘living the dolce vida’ was coined. And when I daydream of Portofino, Cinque Terre, or Sestri Levanti, the unmistakable and wonderful bitter & orange flavors of Campari immediately come to mind.

I personally love its herbal, bitter base and typically drink this unique liqueur in summer when the days are long and warm. But for those looking to tame its signature notes, pair with traditional partners such as a floral gin, crisp soda water, or even better– an Italian Prosecco or Elderflower liqueur for a sophisticated summer sip. Any of these Campari-based cocktails are the perfect aperitif before a light dinner al fresco.

Here are some of my favorite Campari cocktails:

This is my creation for when you want a bit of bubbly along with your Campari. It’s called a Veneto since the best Proseccos in Italy (DOC mark) are made in the that region. You could also use a Cava (Spain) or French bubbly. But since this was an Italian liqueur-based cocktail, I like to use Prosecco.  You know, when in Rome………….

1 part Campari
1 part Vermouth Cinzano Rosso
1 part Cointreau
1 part Prosecco

Add Campari, Vermouth and Cointreau to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until chilled. Pour into a champagne flute or martini glass and top with Prosecco. Garnish with orange peel.DSC_0675-2

This cocktail was first served in Caffè Campari back in the 1860’s. By the 1900’s, it had become so popular with the visiting American tourists, that it’s been known by this name ever since.
1 part Campari
1 part Vermouth Cinzano Rosso
1 part soda water

Add all ingredients to a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with orange twist

Another gin-based cocktail and one of my favorites (after a G&T). I love the bitterness from the Campari. It’s rumored that Count Camillo Negroni invented it by asking a bartender at the Caffè Cavalli in Florence to strengthen his favorite cocktail, the Americano, by adding gin rather than the soda water. The bartender also added an orange garnish rather than the usual lemon garnish of the Americano to signify that it was a different drink.
1 part Gin
1 part Campari
1 part Vermouth Cinzano Rosso

Add all ingredients to a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with orange peel.

Cin Cin!!

Summer along the Italian Riviera!

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