Campari Cocktail

Classic Campari Cocktail

The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios

  • Total: 3 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 cocktail (1 serving)

The Campari cocktail is one of the best drinks to feature the distinctive Italian aperitif in all its glory. It's an excellent choice to serve before a meal, whether it's a casual weeknight or a dinner party.

This recipe is among the most Campari-forward cocktails you can mix up because the aperitif's bitter flavor dominates the drink. Vodka is added as a backup for a bit of unflavored dilution, while the bitters are a nice accent that helps maintain the drink's balance.

Served at just over 2 ounces, the Campari cocktail is an incredibly small drink. It isn't the type of cocktail that most people will want to drink for an extended period of time. Instead, it's designed to be a short, elegant sipper that stimulates the digestive system before eating. It fulfills its purpose as an aperitif perfectly.

This drink can catch people by surprise. While you may not thoroughly enjoy the Campari cocktail the first time you taste it, give it another try because it really is fascinating. With a little time and dedication, you can develop a palate for it and this cocktail may even become a new favorite.

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 3/4 ounce​​ vodka
  • 1 dash​​ Angostura bitters
  • Garnish: ​lemon twist

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes.

  3. Shake well.

  4. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

  5. Garnish with a lemon twist.

  6. Serve and enjoy!

Tips

  • While Campari and bitters define this popular drink, it is important to choose the vodka wisely. Stick with top-shelf vodkas that are nice and clean and you will have a great Campari cocktail.
  • If you are new to the taste of Campari, consider reversing the proportions, and pour more vodka than Campari at first. As you get used to the taste, slowly switch them back to the original proportions in the recipe.

Recipe Variations

  • Citrus vodka pairs well with Campari. You might like how it softens the bitter profile.
  • You can also add other citrus elements—particularly orange—to this drink. For instance, the Campari cosmo pairs citrus vodka, orange juice, and triple sec with Campari to create a lovely drink.
  • Instead of aromatic bitters, give orange bitters a try. Angostura also makes that flavor, though there are others that will work just as well. Regans' Orange Bitters No. 6 is an excellent option and you can find orange bitters from Fee Brothers, Scrappy's, and The Bitter Truth.
  • If you'd like to serve this drink a little taller, strain it over ice into an old-fashioned glass and add a splash of club soda. Pouring as much as 3 ounces of soda results in a drink similar to the Americano.

How Strong Is a Campari Cocktail?

The Campari cocktail is a very strong drink, which is another good reason to keep it short. When made with 80-proof vodka, it will have an alcohol content around 24 percent ABV (48 proof). It's just a little lighter than a vodka martini.