Campari is an Italian aperitif similar to Aperol with two key differences. Campari is more red-colored than Aperol, and it is twice as strong.
The flavor profile is still citrusy like Aperol, but it is more bitter. Its bitterness and high alcohol content make it the perfect mixer for many drinks.
Are you interested in learning more about how to make Campari cocktails? We will share the ingredients for each drink, serving suggestions, and tips on how to make the perfect Campari cocktail.
Each cocktail is ranked based on popularity and taste.
Best Campari Cocktails
Check out our list of the best Campari cocktails below!
The classic Negroni is a traditional Italian cocktail with equal parts gin, sweet vermouth and Campari.
The taste of the drink is often described as being refreshing, bitter and complex – so it’s definitely one to be savored.
The Negroni is a sophisticated and somewhat complex cocktail that’s also refreshing and summery. This versatility lends itself to being a popular drink for a wide range of different settings such as dinner parties, happy hours, and late night drinks.
The Negroni has a stunning bright red color, so quite the statement of a drink.
One of the easiest cocktails to remember, the Negroni has equal amounts (1 ounce) of gin, sweet vermouth and Campari.
It’s a drink that’s best stirred rather than shaken, so all you’ll need is a cocktail mixing glass, or any other glass you have on hand.
Firstly, add the ingredients to a glass with a single handful of ice and stir for around half a minute.
Then, strain and serve the cocktail into a lowball or Old Fashioned glass filled up with ice. You can also add an orange peel as a garnish to your drink.
Check out the best gins to use for a negroni.
The Americano cocktail is an IBA official cocktail on the IBA’s list of “Unforgettables”; a rating reserved for tasty and classic drinks.
It was invented by Campari creator Gaspare Campari and is one of the first cocktails containing Campari. This cocktail is usually served before dinner.
To make an Americano cocktail, you will need equal parts Campari and red Vermouth. Add a splash of soda water to bring it all together.
Add a lemon twist and orange slice as a garnish that complements the flavor. Serve in an old fashioned glass over ice.
This easy three-ingredient drink is made from Campari, sweet vermouth and whiskey. Essentially, it’s a Negroni, but made with whiskey instead of gin.
The drink itself is smooth, rich and spicy all at once. The bitter flavor of the Campari is perfectly balanced by the warm sweetness of the whiskey, making the Boulevardier extremely pleasant on the palate.
Taste aside, this drink is also stunning on the eye. It’s vibrant red color is classy and well-suited to sophisticated events and dinner parties.
As mentioned above, the Boulevardier is an easy to make three-ingredient cocktail. It’s also a classic stirred drink – so you don’t even need to own a fancy cocktail shaker!
Firstly, pour all the ingredients into a mixing glass with a handful of ice and give them a stir for around half a minute. This not only chills the cocktail, but dilutes it far less than shaking the ingredients in a cocktail shaker would.
Then, strain and serve the drink into a lowball or Old Fashioned glass with a fair helping of ice.
It’s also recommended to squeeze a 1” wide strip of orange peel into the drink, gently run it around the edge of the glass, and then place it in the glass afterwards as a garnish.
The Garibaldi cocktail is another easy but delicious cocktail to make.
It contains only Campari and orange juice. Though it is traditionally made with a one-to-one ratio of juice to Campari, modern versions use more orange juice to make it taste more balanced.
The secret to a perfect Garibaldi lies in the preparation of orange juice. Modern bartenders have begun to use fresh-squeezed, aerated orange juice with a nearly fluffy texture.
The fluffier orange juice softens the bitter Campari allowing the drink to blend better.
After blending the orange juice and Campari, serve in a highball glass over ice. Garnish with an orange wedge.
Significantly lighter and more refreshing than the previous two Campari cocktails, the Campari Spritz is a bitter and bubbly drink which mixes Campari with sparkling wine and soda water.
While this cocktail is lighter than the Boulevardier and Negroni, it still provides a strong bittersweet taste of Campari.
So, if you’re not a fan of this bitter flavor, the close relative of the Campari Spritz, the Aperol Spritz, may be a better option.
As mentioned above, the three ingredients of a Campari Spritz are sparkling wine (usually either Prosecco or champagne), soda water, and of course, Campari.
It’s worth noting here that tonic water shouldn’t be used as a replacement for soda water – it really doesn’t work with this drink.
To start, stir the Campari in a glass with a handful of ice to make the aperitif cold. Once you’ve done this, top the glass with the sparkling wine before adding the soda water and stir again. It’s as simple as that!
If you want to garnish the cocktail, the most popular method is to squeeze in juice from a lemon wedge and add to the drink.
This drink is a slight variation of the classic Negroni cocktail, using sparkling wine instead of gin.
For many, the lightly sweet Prosecco combined with the bitter Campari and sweet vermouth makes for a better balanced flavor than the classic Negroni with gin.
Sbagliato translates to “mistaken” or “incorrect” in Italian, but this modern spin on the classic drink is an improvement in the eyes of many cocktail drinkers. It’s bitter, sweet, and bubbly all the same time, making it an instant success.
Very similar to the classic Negroni, this cocktail is made with equal parts of sparkling wine, sweet vermouth and Campari. You won’t need a cocktail shaker as this drink is best stirred in a mixing glass.
Firstly, add the Campari and sweet vermouth into a mixing glass with a handful of ice and stir for 30 seconds until chilled. Then, strain into a lowball glass filled with ice and top up with sparkling wine. Garnish the cocktail with an orange peel and serve.
One of the more unique Campari cocktails, the Jungle Bird is both fruity and complex in taste. It’s one of the few tropical rum cocktails that pair with the popular Italian aperitif, and the end result is a great-tasting drink.
The Jungle Bird’s main ingredients are dark rum, pineapple juice, Campari, lime juice and simple syrup.
The intriguing and complex flavor of the drink stems from the bitterness of the Campari which perfectly offsets the sweet pineapple juice. It’s a cocktail that satisfies all palates: sweet, fruity, tart and bitter.
Once you’ve got all the ingredients, putting together a Jungle Bird is relatively simple.
Firstly, place all the ingredients (mentioned above) into a cocktail shaker with some ice and shake vigorously until cold.
Then, strain the cocktail into a glass, usually a lowball one, and garnish with a pineapple wedge. You can also add pineapple leaves to your drink as a creative garnish, evocative of bird feathers.
Old Pal Cocktail
Unlike other cocktails on our list, the Old Pal did not originate in Italy. Instead, its origins lie in France.
History says that Harry MacElhone was the first to serve this cocktail in his bar in Paris! Some say this cocktail is a drier version of another MacElhone cocktail, the Boulevardier.
To make an Old Pal, you will need equal parts rye whiskey, Campari, and dry vermouth. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, add all three liquids, then stir to combine.
Avoid shaking this recipe! Strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with an orange, and serve.
One of the best ways to use your Campari is to make the Siesta cocktail. This is a luxurious modern drink that pairs tequila, Campari and fresh citrus juice.
The ingredients may be an unexpected combination of flavors, but the final taste of this cocktail is balanced and refreshing.
The Siesta has a sweet tart body and a hint of bitter on the finish, making it a deliciously intriguing drink which has developed into a modern classic.
The Siesta is another straightforward cocktail to put together. Once you’ve compiled the ingredients, you’ll just need a cocktail shaker.
Firstly, pour the tequila, Campari, lime juice, grapefruit juice and simple syrup into your cocktail shaker with a couple of handfuls of ice and shake until cold.
Note here, if you don’t have a cocktail shaker, a mason jar with a cover can be used instead.
Then, strain the drink into a cocktail glass and add a garnish. The most popular choice of garnish for this drink is a citrus wedge.
Just as Aperol has the Aperol Spritz, Campari has the Bicicletta Spritz!
This refreshing drink is popular in the summer and has a more bitter taste than an Aperol Spritz, but it is made with similar ingredients.
To make a Bicicletta Spritz, you will need three ounces of dry white wine, two ounces of Campari, and chilled club soda to top it off.
The type of white wine is up to you, but the most common types are sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio.
Combine the wine and Campari in a double rocks glass or a wine glass. Fill the glass over halfway with ice, then top with the club soda.
Stir gently and briefly to combine. Garnish with an orange slice or two, and serve. Sip slowly and pretend you are on an Italian beach!
Campari Old Fashioned
The Campari Old Fashioned is a take on the classic Old Fashioned, but it is more bitter and looks much richer in color.
Be prepared for a bitter taste as it is mostly bourbon and Campari. You can play around with the flavors here since this is a take on an old fashioned and not a tried and true recipe. Happy experimenting!
To make this drink, combine 2 ounces of bourbon, a splash of Campari, one ounce of simple syrup, and about two drops of angostura bitters in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well.
Pour into a whiskey glass. Use an orange peel or maraschino cherry as a garnish.
Campari and Soda
Campari and Soda is a classic Campari recipe that is easy to make.
It is over 100 years old, and it was first served in The Camparino in Galleria.
To make this cocktail, combine one part Campari and three parts soda water in a glass.
Pour the chilled Campari into the glass first, then top with soda water. It is served best in a tulip glass.
Best Campari Cocktails
- Americano Cocktail
- Campari Spritz
- Jungle Bird
- Old Pal Cocktail
- Bicicletta Spritz
- Campari Old Fashioned
- Campari and Soda
Remember, due to its unique flavor profile, there are not many substitutes for Campari.
The most closely related alcohol would be Aperol. Aperol does not have the same alcohol content or bitter taste as Campari, so use it as a substitute only in desperate situations.
Campari is a bitter aperitif but is useful for creating refreshing cocktails with a citrus flavor and balanced taste.
My favorite cocktail on this list is the Bicicletta Spritz! Which Campari cocktail will you try next?
Check out other popular aperitifs that you can mix into your cocktails to feel like a true mixologist!
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