Liquor Laboratory

What Does Campari Taste Like? A Bitter & Bold Taste (2024)

What Does Campari Taste Like

It’s very common for cocktail novices to ask, “What does Campari taste like?”

When you always see bartenders splash and drop this iconic Italian aperitif on your booze and taste a blend of perfection, you’ll know Campari is more than a drink—it’s a sensory masterpiece.

But if you have yet to try this spirit, you’re in the right spot! Let me take you into the vibrant world of this iconic Italian aperitif and learn more about its taste profile. Read on!

Complete Guide On What Does Campari Taste Like

Bottle of Campari

Campari is a unique and complex Italian liqueur boasting herbal and bitter flavors with notes of cinnamon, clove, cherry, and a subtle hint of sweetness.

Gaspare Campari invented this alcoholic drink in the 1860s. Now, it’s like the James Bond of the cocktail world – suave, mysterious, and an acquired taste, famous for classic drinks like Negroni.

“When consumers would like to have a more refined experience, more bitter taste, then they try Campari spritz.” – Linda Passarella, Director of Global Aperitifs

The enticing bright red color of this Italian liqueur makes me think it’s sweet. But actually, it’s full of herbal and bitter flavors (although it has a bit of sweet notes).

Read: Campari vs Aperol

Tasting Profile


When Campari meets my taste buds, it provides an intense flavor of bitter herbs. But, the bitterness is balanced by a subtle sweetness, making this orange liqueur surprisingly pleasant, especially when added to alcohol.

It resembles the contrast between the lemon’s sharpness and honey’s gentle touch. The dynamic interplay of bitter and sweet gives Campari its distinct flavor.


On the nose, this liqueur releases herbal and citrus notes. Hints of cinnamon, orange peel, and cherry, combined with a medley of aromatic plants, create a fragrant and inviting aroma.


The aftertaste of this liqueur is lingering with a bittersweet touch. It leaves a pleasantly bitter note on the tongue, making it a good choice for complex, iconic cocktails like Negroni and Jungle Bird.

Besides, the aftertaste carries a subtle warmth, making it a perfect companion for contemplative sipping.

Read: Top Campari Alternatives

Campari’s Ingredients

Glass of Campari on a Table

To truly understand what Campari tastes like, it’s essential to know what goes into it. Campari’s secret recipe includes a proprietary recipe of herbs, spices, and fruit extracts.

The secret recipe includes bitter orange peel, rhubarb, and ginseng – all meticulously combined to create a distinctive taste.

How Is It Made?

Campari’s production process is under one company, Campari Group [1], that also owns Cinzano Vermouth and gin brands, like Bulldog.

A meticulous aging process follows the infusion of the recipe ingredients into a base spirit in stainless steel tanks.

This aging allows the various flavors to meld and harmonize, resulting in the signature taste that Campari is famous for.

Read: Top Sweet Vermouths for Negroni

What Tastes Similar To Campari?

If you’re looking for alternatives to a bottle of Campari, a few options can provide a similar flavor profile.

  • Try Aperol’s less bitter and slightly sweeter profile if you want a milder alternative. This is also an Italian aperitif.
  • Other options include Cynar, exuding a distinct artichoke flavor, and Select, an Italian aperitif with a pronounced bitter flavor.

What Is The Best Way To Drink Campari?

Pouring Campari on a Jigger

The best way to drink a bottle of Campari is to mix it with other drinks to create Campari cocktails.

One of the classic cocktails with Campari is the Campari and Soda, wherein the recipe only involves mixing the liqueur with club soda, then garnished with a slice of orange.

The Negroni is another beloved cocktail, combining Campari with equal parts gin and sweet vermouth.

But if you want a refreshing twist, try the Campari Spritz, mixing Campari with Prosecco and soda water, or Garibaldi, a mix of Campari and orange juice.

Ultimately, the best way to drink Campari is the way you enjoy it most.

What Is Campari Good For?

Campari isn’t just good for cocktails and mixed drinks but for culinary uses as well. We can use it to add a unique twist to sauces, marinades, and desserts.

You might not know that some creative cooks even use it to make Campari-infused ice cream!

“Campari is where bitter and sweet unite, creating a taste symphony that lingers on the palate.” – Liquor Laboratory 

But beyond its culinary applications, Campari [2] is one of the versatile bitter liqueurs that can elevate any gathering or social event, making it a fantastic choice for entertaining friends and family.


Do Campari and Aperol’s taste the same?

Campari and Aperol’s tastes are different, although they share some similarities. Campari drinks are bitter and complex, while Aperols are sweeter and lighter.

What is the difference between Aperol and Campari Spritz?

The Aperol Spritz uses Aperol, which is sweeter and less bitter than Campari. The Campari Spritz uses Campari, giving it a more pronounced bitterness and complexity.
Both are refreshing and delightful, but choosing between them depends on your preference for sweetness and bitterness.

What is the alcohol content of Campari?

Campari typically has an alcohol by volume (ABV) of around 20.5% to 28.5%, depending on the specific formulation and market regulations.

Is Campari gluten-free?

Yes, Campari is naturally gluten-free since it is made from ingredients that do not contain gluten.

Are there any health benefits associated with Campari?

While Campari is primarily enjoyed for its flavor and as a social beverage, some people believe that the herbal ingredients used in its production may have digestive benefits when consumed in moderation.

Does Campari have any side effects?

As with any alcoholic beverage, excessive consumption of Campari can lead to intoxication and related health risks. Additionally, some individuals may be sensitive to the bitter taste of Campari or its ingredients.

How should Campari be stored?

Campari should be stored in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight. Once opened, it is best consumed within a reasonable timeframe to maintain its flavor and quality.

Is Campari suitable for vegetarians and vegans?

Campari is considered suitable for both vegetarians and vegans, as it does not contain any animal-derived ingredients.

In Summary

Campari balances bitter and subtly sweet flavors with aromatic notes of orange, cherry, and herbs. It’s a versatile spirit, but it’s best enjoyed in a classic cocktail or used creatively in the kitchen.

While it may not suit everyone’s palate, Campari’s unique and complex flavor profile leaves a lasting impression on your taste buds. You can choose Campari substitutes like Aperol and Cynar to make your favorite cocktails.

Whether you’re a seasoned cocktail enthusiast or just beginning to explore the world of aperitifs, Campari is an experience worth savoring.


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