Campari is a perfect blend of bitter herbs, aromatic plants and fruit, and alcohol. The vibrant red, seductive herbal notes and delicate bitter taste tempt the senses as a voice inside longs for another sip. The secret recipe, invented in 1860 and known only by three people, remains true to the original. The taste is unique to Campari and the recipe created a century and a half ago. Campari is essential to some of the world’s most classic and iconic cocktails. Indeed, there is no Negroni without Campari.
The Campari story began in 1860 with Gaspare Campari serving bitter cocktails, made with his own recipe spirit, at the Caffé Campari overlooking the Duomo in Milan. Young Milanese flocked here in their droves for these intriguing, bittersweet drinks and artisan snacks, and later to the Camparino bar in the fashionable Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Opened by Gaspare’s son Davide in 1915, the bar and the vibrant red drink soon became indelibly linked to Milan’s burgeoning aperitivo culture.
Under Davide’s direction, Campari quickly evolved into a world famous drinks brand. Not least because he understood the unrivalled power of design and creativity in building brand recognition around the world, and engaged with the arts, leading international designers, illustrators and filmmakers. By the mid 1900s, the Campari name had become synonymous with avant-garde creativity.
Campari’s unique taste is characterised by its seductive bitterness. Intense orange, aromatic herbal and root notes combine to create its signature aftertaste which is both invigorating and irresistible. It is a deliciously rewarding taste that is easy to acquire but impossible to replicate. The unique bittersweet taste of Campari is what sets it apart.
Most bitter spirits involve a blend of herbs and botanicals – roots, barks, fruit peel, seeds, spices, herbs and flowers. Depending on their composition, they can work perfectly as an appetiser or a digestive. The best thing about Campari? It can work perfectly for both.
As far back as 1920, Davide Campari was focused on what was happening in the art world. He was fearless, working with photomontage as early as 1930, and embracing avant-garde movements – cubism, minimalism, futurism and abstraction – with gusto. Davide personally engaged with an incredible list of artists, the likes of Marcello Nizzoli, Leonetto Cappiello, Ugo Mochi, Bruno Munari, Milton Glaser and Fortunato Depero.
Campari’s early hand-drawn advertising soon evolved to be completely ahead of its time, and this culture of creativity remains central to Campari. It has meant engaging artists, filmmakers and celebrities, working with the likes of Penelope Cruz, Jessica Alba, Kate Hudson through the iconic Campari Calendar. It has meant collaborating with leading film director Federico Fellini and also with Paolo Sorrentino with the recent Campari film The Killer in Red starring Clive Owen.View gallery
Campari is intimately linked to the city it was born into. Milan is a city like no other with its expression of living; its love of food and drink, fashion, beauty, free spirits, the good life, and the art of aperitivo. Deeply rooted in Italian culture, aperitivo is essentially a farewell to the working day and a celebration of the evening to come.
The work hard, play hard Milanese are particularly fond of their aperitivo. It is the moment in the day when the city comes together to celebrate life. Bitter cocktails involving Campari are ideal aperitivo palate openers, as are vermouths, so the Americano, Negroni and Sbagliato make excellent aperitivo cocktails. For something a little more modern, try the Campari Gin & Tonic – an unmistakably Milanese twist on a classic