Monday, September 7, 2009
I like really like bitter spirits. They aren't something I think of every time I sit down to have a cocktail, but some of the best cocktails I have had have had a bitter ingredient as one of the anchor flavors in it. And since I started experimenting with cocktails in May, I have acquired quite a few of the better known varieties - Cynar, Fernet Branca, Aperol, to name a few. And of course I have had my fair share of Jaegermeister shots (but we won't speak of that). But the one bitter liqueur I have had in my bar the longest, and is nearest to my heart, is Campari.
A bright, gorgeous red, Campari has a sweetness up front which is somewhat misleading, not really preparing you for the lovely bitterness that trails behind it and lingers on your palette for a long, long time. To me, the Americano is the perfect vehicle for this experience. Campari can be a little cloying and thick on the taste buds, so the addition of the sweet vermouth, and especially the club soda, keeps things light without masking that great bitteness Campari is known for. It's refreshing as you drink it, but the orange-tinged aftertaste that lingers in your mouth is the real attraction for any cocktail which includes Campari.