Here at Lifestyle Examiner (National) we are not teetotalers but we are not alcohol aficionados either. Still, we decided to jump into the swim and take at look at Campari. Campari (love the name, after its founder, Gaspare Campari, an Italian)—is used to make a drink called Negroni and this is Negroni Week. (It officially kicks off Monday, June 1 through the 7th.) Anyway, the Negroni drink is used by bartenders, bakers and chefs, (and fans) across the USA in this week long celebration, and, every Negroni item sold gets donated to the bar’s charity of choice. I’m told 1,300 bars participated last year!
There is this iconic cocktail (see recipe below); but we wanted to give you a little of the story on Campari. It is an alcoholic aperitif. These are typically served before a meal to stimulate the appetite. For this reason, it leans toward being dry instead of sweet.
A historic drink—over 150 years old—it is used in a variety of cocktails that need “bitters.” The recipe is said to be a closely guarded secret and there is a lot of speculation as to what’s in it and what makes the red color? The origin of the red color is said to come from an insect—cochineal dye—from the Dactylopius coccus. That has been replaced with something else? over the years.
Gaspare Campari lived for 60years from 1828-1882 and was the tenth child of a farmer. He worked in the Bass Bar in Castelnouvo at age 14. He went on to run a cafe in front of Milan’s historic cathedral, the Duomo. He also opened up Cafe Campari nearby. The name of Campari the drink was originally Bitter all’Uso d’Holanda and it contains some 60 ingredients, including bark, herbs, fruit peels and spices.
This infusion is a steeped recipe and the result is a strong and highly alcoholic additive for other drink concoctions. (Although I’ve heard people drinking it in something as simple as orange juice with a splash of Prosecco.) In the past, bitters were thought of as “health” drinks.
It can be served with hors d’oeuvres and other appetizers or finger foods and will generally be poured into very small glasses—a sipping venture.
There are lovely photos of a classy bar cart to aspire to in the slideshow, and you can use the picture as a template toward setting up your own cart. There is also an art piece made under the inspiration of Negroni week—with a team-up from Drywell Art that we really like; created by food and drink artist Alyson Thomas, and the fact it is only $20 is a plus as well. Also look at some of their other stylized drink art—there are several to use together. What a great Father’s Day any of this would make!
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The classic bitter sweet cocktail….the Negroni.
Created in 1919 in Florence, per the request of Count Camilo Negroni
- 1 oz Campari
- 1 oz Cinzano Rosso Vermouth
- 1 oz Gin
Pour ingredients over ice into a shaker. Stir and strain in a chilled martini glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
This is stronger than a drink called the Americano, but is a delicious before-dinner drink; bracing and bitter from the Campari, sweet from the vermouth, with a kick from gin.