Campari, Evolved

An old standby, the bittersweet aperitivo has been served up since the 1930's; but, today's drinkers give it new life.

If you’re like most of us, you’ve got a bottle of Campari sitting somewhere in your house. Maybe you use it frequently; maybe it’s just collecting dust. Either way, the following article, written by Brennen Jenson for City Paper, gives a bevvy of options for enjoying this time-tested Italian libation – from the obvious (with soda) to the creative (in salad dressings and sorbet). 

So crack open your Campari tonight and enjoy!

Hooch: Bittersweet Campari is an Italian favorite with 21st-century American fans

So, the wife and I recently returned from two weeks in Tuscany. Yeah, sorry, there’s no way to type that without coming off as a bit of a boastful prick. But we did it with backpacks and a shoestring budget—bargain airfare bought back in spring, local buses for getting around, and Airbnb for sleeping (sometimes for less than $50 a night). And thanks to a decent exchange rate (one Euro equaling around $1.14), eating and drinking were cheap, too. It helps that most restaurants offer a quaffable vino della casa for less than $10 a liter and wait-staff salaries are paid by the management, not through tipping.

And then there’s the pleasure of aperitivo, the Italian tradition of socializing in the early evening over light drinks and salty nibbles. It’s somewhat analogous to our happy hour but without the two-for-one enticement just to get a quickie load on. It’s more about the chatter than the chugging. The drinks are supposed to set you up for dinner—to get your gastric juices flowing—and Campari beverages abound. I came to love getting my belly ready for fresh pasta with this classic Italian liqueur whose candy-red color belies a pleasingly bitter, orangy taste. Again, bargain: Most Campari drinks were less than three bills.

Perhaps the most common way to serve it is the simple Campari and soda, which is so popular in Italy it has come premixed in cute little bottles since the 1930s. Just pour over ice and top with an orange slice. Pairing Campari with the light, sparkly white wine prosecco is another pleasing tipple. Read more at City Paper.

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