The first and only time I bought a bottle of Campari was to make a couple of Negronis—the cocktail that's equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari, served up with a twist of orange. But even now, months after the Negonis were drained, and the rest of the gin and the sweet vermouth were consumed, I still have most of the bottle of Campari, collecting dust on my shelf. That's mainly because I have no clue what drink to make with Campari that isn't a Negroni. I know I'm not the only person with this problem. I see liter-sized bottles of Campari everywhere now, sitting mostly full, unused and abandoned, on my friends' bar carts and my parents' liquor cabinet.
And sure, I could swap the gin in a Negroni for whiskey and call it a Boulvardier, or make any number of nuanced and balanced drinks, but I don't have a full bar at my disposal. I'm just looking for simple Campari cocktails with one or two ingredients so I can use up the rest of that bottle.
Fortunately, you just need one other ingredient to make the most of this uniquely, fluorescently red liqueur with the distinctly bitter taste. A splash of the bitter liqueur here and there can really jazz up an otherwise boring, nonalcoholic drink. (The high-ish alcohol content, which comes in at 24 percent, doesn't hurt either.)
So if you're looking for new ways to finally finish that bottle of Campari, or you're still struggling with how to drink Campari at all, here's a guide to simple Campari cocktails and Campari recipes that'll brighten up any brunch or cocktail hour. These drinks are proof that all you need to do
Campari + Seltzer
Perhaps the easiest way to drink Campari that isn't a Negroni is by adding a splash of the liqueur to some seltzer or club soda. It's hydrating and gives you just a bit of that hair of the dog, so it's kind of the perfect hangover beverage.
Campari + Orange Juice
Adding Campari to OJ is a simple way to fancy—and booze—up your morning juice. It's even recommended on the back label of the liqueur bottle. All you have to do is add one part Campari to three parts orange juice.
Campari + Lemonade
Add a splash of Campari to freshly squeezed lemonade for a particularly refreshing poolside or picnic drink. The bitter Campari adds a nice balance to the sweet and tart lemonade.
Campari + Prosecco
Make what's essentially a Campari Spritz by adding a shot of Campari to a glass of prosecco. Finish with club soda for some extra bubbles.
Campari + Espresso
Writer Kyle Chayka offered up a recipe for an espresso Negroni for a drink that'll keep you both buzzed and awake, all at once.
Campari + an IPA
This mix of Campari and an IPA, or India pale ale, sounds weird. You're basically combining bitter Campari and bitter beer. But serve over ice and top with a twist of lemon, and according to Robert Willey in the New York Times, you've got "an offhand work of genius that ripens as the ice melts and the ale warms, as bitter citrus fuses with floral hops, as juicy bursts of grapefruit explode like sunsets pancaking on the horizon."
Campari + Watermelon or Cantaloupe
Not all Campari recipes have to be cocktails. Add Campari to watermelon or cantaloupe or even a fruit salad for a quick upgrade. Even Martha Stewart recommends serving Campari with cubes of watermelon, so you know it's classy AF.
Campari + a Freezer
OK, so making Campari-flavored popsicles isn't as easy as putting Campari in the freezer—but it really is simple. You can make these slightly boozy popsicles with grapefruit juice or orange juice, but either way, it's going to be a better use of the liqueur than letting it sit on your shelf.