I recently tried Campari for the first time a few weeks ago. I was warned by everyone that was with me (and the bartender!) that I was not going to like it and the looks on their faces told me that they could be right. But when I took my first sip, I was pleasantly surprised. I liked the bitterness of the spirit and combined with the soda water, it was actually pretty refreshing. While Campari may not top everyone’s list in terms of apertifs, when I mixed it in this sort of classic, Boulevardier, it transformed into something completely different, while still maintaining the bitterness that I loved.
My brother is a huge fan of Fernet Branca and I grew to love it ever since he introduced me to it years ago. I think that has a lot to do with why I like Campari so much; I like those bitter flavors in my alcohol. The Boulevardier is a cocktail, like the Negroni, but served with bourbon instead of gin. While gin is normally my choice of alcohol, I liked the pairing with bourbon just as much. While a classic Boulevardier or Negroni is served with an orange slice, I much preferred the grapefruit in this; so much so that I finished the drink with a squeeze of the juice right in the glass.
1 1/2 oz Campari
1 1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
1 1/2 oz Bourbon
Squeeze of grapefruit juice or orange
Grapefruit or orange slices, for garnish
In a cocktail shaker with ice, pour the Campari, sweet vermouth, bourbon and a squeeze of grapefruit or orange juice in. Shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass and serve with a slice of grapefruit or orange.