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Suggestions For Uses of Campari

So, due to my love affair with Gin, I bought a bottle of Campari and Sweet Vermouth last week in order to make a Negroni. After three runs at it [and with an excellent suggestion from EvergreenDan to work up to the traditional 1:1:1 ratio Negroni], I am starting to enjoy the "unique" bitterness of the Campari in a Negroni. In addition, I substituted a shot of Cointreau for Campari in my traditional margarita, which was great [with a wonderful grapefruit-type flavor coming through] and went even deeper making a margarita with both a shot of Campari and a shot of Bols Blue Curacao, which was nice as well [with an excellent color presentation]. Other than the other common permutations suggested by Campari, does anyone have great uses of it in a cocktail/drink?

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  1. You're in a similar place as I am.

    Go for the Boulevardier next. Bourbon instead of Gin. Good as the the weather turns...


    7 Replies
      1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

        I've been drinking the Boulevardier and I have to say while it's a decent drink, I think the Bourbon masks the Campari too much. Still prefer the Negroni but it feels too much like summer to me. And with the snow falling in October (what the?!) I do need to figure out another Campari beverage that's more seasonal. Or maybe just move on to applejack.

        1. re: isadorasmama

          Try the 1794. It's an updated Boulevardier created by Dominic Venegas from San Francisco. I think it is a more balanced drink -- fabulous, actually. I had it recently at Lord Hobo in Cambridge, MA. Rye punches through better than bourbon. The expressed orange peel adds a ton of aroma to the glass as you sip. If you don't have Bittermens Xocolatl (I think I've finally got that spelling memorized) Mole bitters, just you another spicy (not fruity) bitters, like Angostura.

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          1. re: EvergreenDan

            I wouldn't mind adding the Mole bitters to my repertoire but I have no idea what else to use it for. Have you had the 1794 with both the mole bitters and Angostura? What about an orange peel?
            In any case, sounds great.

            1. re: isadorasmama

              Bittermens Xocolatl Mole bitters goes where a "brown spice" type bitters go. It goes especially well with tequila, but I'd happily use it where I use Angostura, Fee WBA bitters, and the like. It is substantially more bitter than Angostura and is potent. A single dash is usually enough. That said, I recently made Mole Hill for Thursday Drink NIght: Chocolate. It has a full 1/4 oz of BXM bitters in it. And it got picked up for publication in a leading cocktail magazine.

              If you can't find it locally, The Boston Shaker has it. If you can find it in the new blue bottle, it will have the most up-to-date formulation.

              All this said, I would not hesitate to make the 1793 with another bitters. I have not tried it without the orange peel, but I certainly enjoyed that aspect of the drink.
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              1. re: EvergreenDan

                Fantastic. Thanks for the info. And many congrats on getting picked up for publication!

        2. I mix it with orange or grapefruit juice -- VERY refreshing on a hot summer day.

          1. We love it mixed with Apple or Cranberry juice and a wedge of lemon.

            1. One kind of strange observation I have about Campari. When I first tried it, and tried mixing it with just seven up or whatever I had around that seemed like it might work, I tended to use not that much of it. Maybe a shot or so. It seemed strong in the drink. Then one night I went to this pretty nice Italian restaurant. Asked for a Campari and soda I guess it was. He filled it at least half full with Campari and maybe more. (I don't remember exactly). The strange thing was, it tasted MUCH more palatable with the very heavy dose. Unless it had something to do with the soda water ? I think that is the only time I had it with SW.


              2 Replies
              1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                I love Campari & Soda on a hot day, or as an aperitif before a big wine dinner . . . .

                1. re: zin1953

                  IBID, but the idea of joining it in a measured dose with certain beers as described below is interesting..

              2. I mentioned this in another post. I once received a case of Asahi Super Dry in cans, which I find to be a very bland and flavorless beer. I decided to pour a can of the beer into a large glass, followed by a shot of Campari. The result was quite interesting as a beer cocktail, giving the ASD a lot of needed bitterness and some sweetness to back it up, along with a rather nice looking color. So I ended up making Campari Super Dry cocktails with the unwanted beer. It was a win-win situation.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Tripeler

                  I learned something good today...gonna try beer & campari very soon!

                    1. re: Tripeler

                      I tried something similar with some overly bitter beers I have had, but I mixed them with the sweeter amaro Aperol and it turned out quite good.

                      The beers in this case were a bottle of homebrew my friend made for his wedding that I thought had the hops way out of balance, and a bottle of Dogfish head Burton Baton from a blown batch a few years back with way too much yeast and hops. I have waited for the hops to fade but it is still pretty bad on its own.

                    2. Speaking of which, last night I tried a modified Pegu Club, subbing Campari for the curacao--based on something you said in a post on this forum a while back. I'm actually not sure if you said you liked a dash or Campari or a full-on blast to replace the curacao, but I'm happy to report that it worked quite nicely. I used an Old Tom gin--Hayman's--to bump up the sweetness a bit in an attempt to balance against the increased bitterness in the drink, and I ended up with something along the lines of:

                      2oz Hayman's
                      0.75oz Campari
                      0.75oz lime juice
                      2d each, Ango and Ango orange

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: davis_sq_pro

                        I used a full blast ... and I'm looking forward to trying your modified Pegu Club. Never had Hayman's [and maybe this will be a good excuse to try a bottle]. Thanks!

                        1. re: davis_sq_pro

                          If that was directed at me (not sure), here's what I make. In truth, it is very, very similar to a Jasmine:

                          Pegu Club (Pink)
                          by Pegu Club, Burma, variation by Dan Chadwick, Kindred Cocktails

                          2 oz Gin
                          3/4 oz Triple sec, Cointreau
                          1/4 oz Campari
                          3/4 oz Lime juice
                          2 ds Whiskey Barrel Aged bitters, Fee Brothers

                          Shake, Straight Up, Cocktail

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                        2. Biciletta is sort of a wine "spritzer" with Campari, very nice.
                          Hedonia explains it here: http://hedonia.seantimberlake.com/hed...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: WCchopper

                            Thanks ... I pulled the recipe from your link for others to enjoy.


                            1 part Campari
                            2 parts light white wine, like Pinot Grigio
                            good splash club soda

                            Pour ingredients over ice in a wine glass and stir to combine.

                          2. My stepmother's "house cocktail" is Campari with Orangina and a wedge of orange. It goes down easy but definitely only for summer.

                            1. I've had some more unconventional Campari drinks that pair the liqueur with rum that are quite interesting. Jim Meehan's East India Negroni and the classic tiki drink the Jungle Bird come to mind.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: rlee21

                                The Bitter Mai Tai is a favorite of mine. You have to get you mind around the Caribbean / Italian connection.

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