Campari. It’s odd-looking yet has a distinctive, bright red & orange hue. An intense aroma and captivating bitter taste have taken this Italian aperitif to a level of notoriety, almost cult like.
It’s incredibly bitter. I was intrigued from the start. And that start was during my summer internship in law school with a white shoe Philly law firm. We’d go out for after work drinks and for some reason I couldn’t drink more than three - a fact which was great if I wanted to eventually get a job at the firm. It also had equal parts obscurity, elevation and badass-ery.
Campari is the most popular bitter Italian liqueur designed for sipping before a meal. Campari was invented in 1860 by Gaspare Campari in Novare, Italy. It’s most famous for being included in classic cocktails like the Negroni and Americano. The fame of the bitter is also due in part to their iconic marketing campaigns with the likes of Fortunato Depero's world full of mechanical designs and organic shapes and iconic Italian film director Federico Fellini who directed the brands first commercial.
After retiring from law, the Campari was also sidelined. That was until we began working on our Los Angeles showroom where Aperol Spritzes reigned supreme. Aperol is Campari’s sweeter cousin, also an Italian aperitif. The Aperol's began to morph back into Campari's. And when I had a chance to go to Milan, it was full on. Drinking at least half a dozen Campari Spritzes per day for two weeks will either ruin your taste for it or further entrench you in arancia madness. Fortune fell on the later, and on my first Friday back we took some of the CMMP team to La Gran Caffe L'aquilla a few blocks away from our Rittenhouse showroom to knock a few - not more than three - back.
One of the most popular ways to enjoy Campari is with the always simple, Negroni comprised with a 1:1:1 pour of the bitter, Gin, and Vermouth. Over the last few years, the classic Negroni has taken on a life of it's own on social media. Popularized by people like Matt Hranek of WM Brown Magazine, who recently published an entire book on his love affair with the Negroni and it's unique versions from bars and bartenders around the world.