Campari. Although I’ve refrained from actually incorporating Campari in my Negroni variations this week, we obviously cannot go thru Negroni Week without talking about the famous Campari. Campari is an Italian bittersweet liqueur that is traditionally drank as an aperitif before dinner to open up the appetite, usually with water/ice or a bit of fizz. It’s also a key ingredient and one third of the classic Negroni (the other 2/3 being sweet vermouth and gin) – see Negroni recipes for some ideas.
It’s been around since the mid 1800s, and the only known ingredients in this ruby red gem are…alcohol and water (and one other thing*). The recipe is a closely guarded secret, likely composed of various herbs and botanicals to create its bittersweet flavor profile that can be quite polarizing. For some, it’s love at first taste, and for others, well….it may take a while.
Oh, and about that other ingredient*….well, what gives Campari that lovely red hue? Pre-2006 it was from carmine, which is a red dye obtained from crushed scale insects (literally beetle-juice). Nowadays, Campari has made a single change to their original recipe by replacing carmine with an artificial red coloring, news that you may either find relieving or disappointing, depending on how you feel about having crushed insects in your booze.