May 30, 2006

Bitter Is Better

by peterb

It's gotta be 90 degrees here in Pittsburgh today. So here's a simple drink to beat the heat: Campari.



It's an odd drink, with a Shirly Templish bright red color and a citrusy, grapefruit sort of taste. Really, that taste is that of the chinotto, or bitter orange. But if it helps with your hipster friends, you can call it the Fresca of aperitifs.

You can mix it with soda, if you like. That dilutes the bitterness and turns it into something weaker, something fruitier, something lamer. Something French, in other words. Some people mix it to taste with orange juice. If you'll take my advice, just pour some on the rocks and add a twist of orange.

What Campari really tastes like, to me, is summer.

PS: Dear Cynthia: I stumbled across your entry on Campari while searching for images to use. So now you know three people that like Campari.

Posted by peterb at May 30, 2006 07:17 PM | Bookmark This

Another good "lamer" approach for drinking Campari in the summer time is a Spriss:
1 oz Campari
4 oz dry white wine
4 oz soda water
1 olive

Serve over ice and drink while sitting in the sun.

Posted by drgerg at May 30, 2006 07:32 PM

I have a bottle of Campari in my liquor cabinet. I'll have to try it again, so that I can accurately describe how horrible it is. I have tried to block out all memory of my first tasting.

Although I can't speak from direct experience, I'd wager that more refreshing liquid has been expressed via catheter.

Posted by Mark Denovich at May 30, 2006 08:44 PM

Mark, I propose a blind taste-test.

Posted by peterb at May 30, 2006 09:10 PM

When I was underage I would order Campari. Back then, nobody would ever card for Campari.

Posted by Jay M. at May 30, 2006 10:29 PM

My favorite Campari cocktail is still a Negroni. Actually though, I leave out the vermouth so maybe I should come up with a different name. Or it is OK to say "a dry Negroni"?

Also, have you noticed the big print advertising push Campari has made in the last year or so? They seem to have an ad in every New Yorker issue. Like so:

They say these ads are a "modern incarnation" of the fabulous old Campari posters (like so:, but I think they're sort of missing the mark. They're not sophisticated or sexy -- just scary.

Posted by Cindy at May 30, 2006 11:15 PM

I'd be happy to administrate said taste test.

Posted by Mark Denovich at May 30, 2006 11:50 PM

Yeech! I just had some Campari, just to be sure I wasn't being overly harsh. I wasn't. What a dreadful beverage. It's like letting pills dissolve on your tongue.

Posted by Mark Denovich at May 31, 2006 12:01 AM

Yes, exactly -- like dissolving yummy, delicious, citrus-flavored St. Joseph's Aspirin For Children on your tongue. It's wonderful.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmm. Now I want to invent an aspirin-campari cocktail.

Posted by peterb at May 31, 2006 12:23 AM

>Now I want to invent an aspirin-campari cocktail.

I can hear the ulcers forming from over here.

Posted by Shelby Davis at May 31, 2006 08:41 AM

The biggest problem I have with Campari is that I keep running out of it.

Posted by Adam V at May 31, 2006 03:22 PM

But peterb -- Do you like summer? And which summer are we talking about? The dry summer with balmy, beachy nights in SoCal, or the humid, super uncomfortable summers pretty much everywhere else? Be honest --

Posted by green la girl at June 1, 2006 02:49 AM

Hot steamy summers with diluvian thunderstorms in the afternoon are what make you appreciate cold drinks and the advent of fall.

Nosebleed-inducing 80-degree perfectly dry heat year-round weakens the body and deadens the soul.

Posted by Benoit at June 10, 2006 01:04 PM

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