The Campari and soda is a great aperitif to enjoy before a meal. It displays the bitter, herbal taste of Campari without any outside flavor influences. Along with Campari on the rocks, it's one of the signature ways to serve the Italian spirit, though this sparkling cocktail is far more refreshing.
As in this recipe, the official formula from Campari uses 3 parts soda and 1 part Campari. That can be adjusted, of course. Pour less Campari or more soda to soften the flavor while training your palate to Campari's bold taste. On the other hand, if you're already a fan of Campari, you may like it at a 2:1 ratio.
Gather the ingredients.
Pour the Campari into a highball glass filled with ice.
Top with soda water.
Garnish with a lemon or orange slice.
- Choose an unsweetened carbonated beverage such as club soda, seltzer, or sparkling water.
- An orange slice is a natural companion for this drink because Campari has orange undertones. Switching to the lemon garnish and squeezing it gently over the drink can add a subtle but brilliant contrast.
- If you prefer something a touch sweeter, try substituting ginger ale for the soda.
- Another option is to skip the soda and pour a dry sparkling wine instead.
- Play up the orange flavor by adding a splash of fresh-squeezed orange juice.
- Adding sweet vermouth to the mix and cutting back on the soda produces the iconic Americano cocktail.
Why Is the Campari and Soda a Good Aperitif?
An aperitif is any beverage that's designed to stimulate the appetite and aid with digestion. As seen in gin and vermouth, this quality often comes from the botanical ingredients included in the liquor or fortified wine. Though the ingredients are kept secret, Campari is made with "bitter herbs, aromatic plants and fruit," and is Italy's most famous aperitivo (Italian for the French word, aperitif). Any drink that includes it is naturally going to retain those characteristics. In the Campari and soda, those benefits are enhanced with the bubbly soda and it will not dull the palate with sweeteners. Like a good wine pairing, it allows you to fully enjoy the flavor of your food and enhances the dining experience.
How Strong Is the Campari and Soda?
The Campari and soda is a gentle drink. Two factors will affect the drink's strength: the amount of soda you pour and the bottling strength of the Campari (it varies by market). With the 3:1 mix and Campari sold in the U.S., the drink's alcohol content is about 6 percent ABV (12 proof), or similar to a strong beer.