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10 Best Campari Substitutes & Liqueur Alternatives (2024)

Best Campari Substitute

If you’ve ever savored Campari, you know it has a unique, slightly bitter flavor with hints of herbs, citrus, and other botanicals. This liqueur adds depth to classic cocktails like the Negroni and the Americano.

That said, it can be easy to run out if you love Campari, so we recommend having substitutes. You won’t need to go out and experiment on your own.

As cocktail enthusiasts, we’ve tried and tasted a few options to uncover the secrets of the best Campari substitute, and we’re here to share our findings with you.

Top 10 Best Campari Substitutes

1. Tempus Fugit Gran Classico

Man Holding Tempus Fugit Gran Classico

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Why We Like It: Tempus Fugit Gran Classico might not have the same bright red color as Campari, but it’s a fantastic substitute that can step up to the plate in your cocktails.

“Negronis are like the perfect harmony of life’s bittersweet moments.” – Liquor Laboratory 

It’s packed with 25 different herbs and roots, with hints of rhubarb, sweet orange peel, and gentian, giving it the flavors you need for your Negroni. [1]

Some folks even claim that Gran Classico makes an even better Negroni than Campari, even if you consider its major differences. It has a more complex flavor profile with a thicker, richer texture.

Gran Classico also has a higher alcohol content than Campari at 28 percent.

2. Cappelletti Aperitivo Americano Rosso

Bottle of Cappelletti Aperitivo Americano Rosso

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Why We Like It: This Italian bitter has a fortified wine base resembling Campari. This drink is lighter and sweeter, has lower alcohol content, and it’s not your typical one-to-one Campari alternative.

Our top tip is to pair it with red vermouth and gins that aren’t too heavy on the juniper.

3. Faccia Brutto Aperitivo

Man Holding Faccia Brutto Aperitivo

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Why We Like It: Faccia Brutto Aperitivo finds the middle ground between Aperol’s sweetness and Campari’s bitterness.

This Italian aperitivo rocks a crimson red color alongside a fascinating mix of flavors like orange peel, vanilla, and rhubarb and is a fantastic Campari alternative.

Faccia Brutto Spirits, led by Brooklyn-based chef Patrick Miller, is all about paying homage to a traditional Italian bitter with a unique twist.

They use 17 fresh and dried botanicals to give these red bitters their fresh, citrus vibes.

Read: Vermouth vs Campari

4. Leopold Bros. Aperitivo

Bottle of Leopold Bros. Aperitivo and Glasses

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: Denver-based Leopold Bros. Aperitivo is one of our top picks for a US-made Campari substitute.

This aperitivo is a fantastic match for gin and sweet vermouth. While it’s a bit less sweet than Campari, it has an alluring blend of citrus, grapefruit peel, and red fruit flavors with a dry, lingering finish.

It’s made with interesting bitter herbs like wormwood (artemisia pontica), gentian root, balsam fir, coriander, and some cane sugar for sweetness.

5. Martini & Rossi Riserva Speciale Bitter Liqueur

Three Bottles Martini & Rossi Riserva Speciale Bitter Liqueur

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: You might know Martini & Rossi for their vermouth, but they’ve got an excellent Campari substitute out there.

This alternative is infused with cinchona bark, which gives it an incredibly dry and bitter profile and is perfect for mixing in extra-dry Negronis. But what does Campari really taste like?

6. Contratto Bitter

Man Holding Contratto Bitter

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: Contratto Bitter is made with an Italian brandy base and infused with 24 herbs, spices, roots, and seeds. Because it’s less on the bitter side, it’s a great pick for folks who usually lean towards Aperol than traditional Campari.

When mixed with gin and sweet vermouth, this Italian bitter creates a rich and nuanced Negroni. We recommend mixing it with club soda or soda water and pouring it over ice for a refreshing drink.

Also Read:

7. Lockhouse Distillery Ibisco

Bartender Holding Lockhouse Distillery Ibisco

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: Ibisco is another Campari substitute that starts with a corn base (as opposed to an orange base) before it is infused with grapefruit peels and coriander.

This slight modification results in a taste that’s uniquely its own, and you’ll definitely notice the difference in your next Negroni.

8. Lo-Fi Aperitifs Gentian Amaro

Bottle of Lo-Fi Aperitifs Gentian Amaro

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: It’s a unique Campari substitute with anise, blood orange, hibiscus, grapefruit, and ginger notes.

This infusion results in a drink that’s a delightful blend of floral, fruity, and spicy notes, perfect for those in the mood for a Negroni with a California twist.

Furthermore, while Campari packs a punch with a 24 percent ABV, Gentian Amaro keeps things slightly lighter at 17.5 percent ABV.

9. Don Ciccio & Figli Luna Aperitivo

Bottle of Don Ciccio & Figli Luna Aperitivo

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: Luna Aperitivo isn’t your typical bright red bitter liqueur – it boasts a darker hue. However, its deep shade is a great prelude to its complex notes.

Unlike Campari’s sweetness, Luna leans into its bitterness but still remains quite fruity. It’s a wonderful blend of orange and pear, complemented by herbal notes.

Luna Aperitivo shines in a Negroni, but we highly recommend trying it on the rocks. Trust us – it’s a delightful drink worth experiencing.

10. Luxardo Bitter

Close Up Image of Luxardo Bitter Bottle

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: Luxardo might be more famous for its Maraschino liqueur, but did you know that the Luxardo Bitter is just as good, if not better?

This deeply flavored liqueur has a beautiful blend of flavors with bitter orange, rhubarb, and thyme notes. It’s robust enough to hold its own with juniper-heavy gin and sweet vermouths.

“Sweet vermouth… [adds] depth and character to drinks with a mysterious elegance.” – Dale DeGroff

It’s not overly bitter like Campari nor excessively sweet like some other alternatives – it’s just right. It’s an ideal Campari substitute for classic cocktails like the Negroni or Spritz. [2]

Note: Each product was evaluated on its perceived flavor profiles, popularity, and availability.

FAQs

Can you swap Campari with Aperol?

Yes, you can swap Campari with Aperol Spritz, especially if you want a less bitter option. Aperol Spritz is a sweeter, orange-flavored alternative to Campari.

Is Campari the same as sweet vermouth?

No, Campari is not the same as sweet vermouth. Campari liqueur has a bold and bitter flavor profile, while sweet vermouth is a sweet, fortified wine.

What is a vegan alternative to Campari?

Some vegan-friendly Campari alternatives include Gran Classico, Cappelletti Aperitivo, and Luxardo.

Can I make my own Campari substitute at home?

Yes, you can create a homemade Campari substitute by combining various ingredients such as herbs, spices, and citrus peels with a base spirit. There are many recipes available online for homemade bitters and liqueurs that can mimic the flavor of Campari.

Are there any non-alcoholic alternatives to Campari?

Yes, there are non-alcoholic alternatives to Campari that can be used in cocktails. These may include flavored syrups, herbal infusions, or commercially available non-alcoholic bitters.

Does the substitute affect the taste of the cocktail?

Yes, using a substitute for Campari may slightly alter the taste of the cocktail, as each alternative has its own unique flavor profile. However, many substitutes can still create delicious cocktails that closely resemble those made with Campari.

Where can I find Campari substitutes?

Campari substitutes like Aperol, Cynar, and non-alcoholic bitters can typically be found at liquor stores or specialty grocery stores. Alternatively, you can purchase them online from various retailers.

Can I use the same amount of substitute as Campari in a recipe?

It’s recommended to adjust the amount of substitute used in a recipe based on its flavor potency compared to Campari. Start with a similar quantity and adjust to taste.

Key Takeaways

While there are several great Campari alternatives and bitter liqueurs, Tempus Fugit Gran Classico stands out as the best Campari substitute on this list.

This great alternative has a remarkably complex flavor profile, making it an ideal mixer in a classic Negroni.

But what truly sets this red bitter apart is its impeccable balance between bitterness and sweetness. This ensures it harmonizes seamlessly with other ingredients to give you a well-rounded and refreshing beverage.

Its intricate flavor profile and enhanced mouthfeel make it the best go-to substitute for Campari in any sophisticated cocktail.

You can also try Red Amaro, Forthave Spirits, Forthave Red Bitters, Bitter Bianco, George Bruto Americano Bruto Americano by St. George Spirits, and Select Aperitivo.

References:

  1. https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/classic-negroni
  2. https://www.foodandwine.com/best-spritzes-7499542
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