A classic brand that I’m sure everyone has come across at some point is Campari. But what makes this brand so well-known?
Campari was created in 1860 by Gaspare Campari in Novara, Italy. Bitter Uso Olanda, as Campari was initially called, was the result of Gaspare’s experiments concocting new beverages. The real change was having a bitter before lunch, not after. Campari soon became a popular liqueur and on January 7, 1880, the first Campari advertisement appeared in “Corriere della Sera”, Italy’s most important daily newspaper at that time. In 1904, Campari’s first production plant was opened in Sesto San Giovanni, near Milan, Italy and required bars that bought Campari to display the Campari Bitters sign. In the early nineties, Campari launched its first advertising project: a calendar featuring artwork by figurative artist Cesare Tallone. Known for his portraits, he painted a beautiful, alluring woman representing Campari for the calendar. To this day, Campari still produce their now iconic calendars. Advertising through media was also a forerunner, including Dudovich’s famous red poster portraying two lovers passionately kissing in a private room, as well as Leonetto Cappiello creating the famous Spiritello sprite wrapped in an orange peel, an image that people still remember. In the 1930’s, Campari Soda made its debut with a single-serve bottle designed by Depero, becoming the first pre-mixed drink sold worldwide.
So what is Campari?
Campari is the result of the infusion of herbs, aromatic plants and fruit in alcohol and water; these last two being the recipe’s only known ingredients. It was originally coloured with carmine dye, derived from crushed cochineal insects, which gave the drink its distinctive red colour, however in 2006, Gruppo Campari ceased using carmine in its production.
So how does Campari fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Campari – 25%
Lots of light floral notes on the nose with hints of herbal aromas. A developing bitterness on the palate, but rather fresh with some fruit and herb flavours coming through. Creates a long lingering finish.
Not too bad on its own, but goes well with it’s classic signature serve of a Negroni, perfect for over 100 years –
30 ml Campari
30 ml Gin
30 ml Vermouth Cinzano Rosso
Build in a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with a slice of orange.
Campari Orange Passion
30 ml Campari
2 slices orange
1 teaspoon brown sugar
90 ml light orange juice
Prepare the drink in a tall glass. Place orange and brown sugar in the glass and crush to a pulp. Add crushed ice. Add the Campari and orange juice and gently stir. Garnish with a red cherry.
This is a brand that is worthy of being a part of your drinks cabinet, especially as many bartenders are using Campari within exciting and innovative cocktails!
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