With the singular, sultry utterance of “Negroni … Sbagliato … with Prosecco in it,” actor Emma D’Arcy single-handedly birthed a new generation of Campari drinkers. (Perhaps fitting for the Great Great Great Great Grandmother of Dragons, or however that family tree shakes out.) Now that you’ve joined team Negroni — or team Sbagliato, or if you’re loyal to the spritz — you may be asking yourself, now what? With a bar cart stocked with the Italian liqueur and a newly expanded palate that appreciates all things bright and bitter, what other Campari cocktails are out there?
Campari, with its riotous red hue, can make any cocktail blush, even in small doses. And while cocktails that utilize the iconic, bittersweet liqueur have cachet at any time of year, in honor of the upcoming February holiday that has everyone seeing red, we asked 13 bartenders: What Campari cocktails should you try other than the Negroni (and Sbagliato)?
The Best Campari Cocktails, According to Bartenders
- Jungle Bird
- Americano Perfecto (Campari Shandy)
- Campari & Baileys
- Rome With a View
- Campari Sour
- Old Pal
“I really love a good Jungle Bird — a classic rum cocktail that really masks the bitterness that sometimes puts people off to Campari. I’m all about trying to bring tropical flavors such as pineapple to bitter components, and dressing them up to go out for a night on the boardwalk.” —Max Stampa-Brown, beverage director, The Garret Group, New York City
Don't Miss A DropGet the latest in beer, wine, and cocktail culture sent straight to your inbox.
“We are living in a world where people are drinking more low-ABV cocktails, and the Americano is a good one that showcases Campari. Very similar to a Sbagliato, it has both Campari and sweet vermouth, swapping out the Prosecco for sparkling water. With Campari being a staple ingredient, the maker can play around with the vermouth they choose. The lightness and refreshing quality of the cocktail makes it a go-to at any point of the year.” —Agustina Sofo, beverage director, El Che Steakhouse & Bar, Chicago
“Americano Perfecto is a modern classic from my friend and former coworker Damon Boelte (of Grand Army Bar) which simply — perfectly — swaps club soda for pilsner in an Americano cocktail, and adds a malt dimension to the drink that both integrates and elevates. As most bars high and low have Campari, Italian vermouth, and good pilsner these days, it’s an easy and smart order.” —Chris Balla, beverage director, Little Cat Lodge, Hillsdale, N.Y.
“A Quill is a twist on a classic Negroni made by adding a bar spoon of absinthe to the cocktail. The anise balances out the botanicals of the drink and adds a fun dimension.” —Drew Breen, bar manager, CAMP, Greenville, S.C.
“I love surprising a trusting guest with a Siesta. Tequila cocktails are such a frequent call here in Dallas, and I love pairing Campari with fresh citrus. It gives the guest a different perspective on Campari; rather than viewing it as bold and bitter in a drink like a Negroni, it gives structure to the grapefruit juice and tequila in the Siesta cocktail.” —Sarah O’Malley, bartender, Carbone Vino, Dallas
“While bartending in St. Maarten, I learned of an unusually intriguing mixture of Campari and Baileys which was popular there. I was instructed to pour equal parts on the rocks, but my preference was 2:1 Baileys to Campari to achieve something that resembled a cherry cordial, but with a stronger whiskey backbone.” —Alex Martin, bartender, Madison, Wis.
“Whether you are looking for a new way to drink your Campari or looking to acquire a taste, the Rena is a great option — an amaro-forward take on a Manhattan that also helps use up the bottle of Galliano that has been on your bar since that one time you wanted to see what all the fuss was about a Harvey Wallbanger. Citrus from the Campari plus citrus from the Galliano equals delicious.” —Brian DuBois, bar manager, Billy Sunday, Charlotte, N.C.
“My favorite thing about Campari in cocktails is its ability to balance itself as an ingredient. The sweetness is essentially negated by tannins and acids that coat the same parts of your palate. This makes it an ideal ingredient to simply add to a cocktail or beverage that would be able to stand on its own as well. The most simple and pure version of this that comes to mind is the Garibaldi cocktail, which combines Campari and orange juice. The orange juice has a thinner body than the Campari, but effectively balances itself in a similar way, depending on ripeness and species, of course. The Campari is essentially just lengthened by the juice, instead of being trampled over. The orange juice has a similar balance to the Campari, but it has a very different type of acidity. This creates a much more satisfying, palate-coating sip. Orange juice on its own is great. Orange juice with Campari is equally great.” —Will Wyatt, owner, Mister Paradise, NYC
“For whiskey-cocktail lovers wanting to escape the sweetness of an Old Fashioned or Manhattan, I often recommend a Boulevardier — a drink that, despite containing an equal measure of sweet vermouth, is carried by the lovely bitterness of Campari. Add chocolate bitters, and you have a Left Hand; one of my favorites.” —Nico Diaz, head bartender, Ranstead Room, Philadelphia
“Rome With a View is a modern-day classic. I really love this cocktail; it is a perfectly balanced take on a low-ABV cocktail that heroes Campari, pairing it with dry vermouth, lime juice, and soda. Perfect for the lighter option at any time of the day, the drink is both bitter, dry, and refreshing. I like to have this instead of an Americano from time to time as an aperitivo with some snacks; a great pairing!” —Liana Oster, bars director, NoMad, London
“A Campari Sour would be a riff on a classic cocktail that uses the aperitivo as the main ingredient. Combining a bit of lemon and orange juice as the sour component will ease the bitterness of the Campari, amplifying the orange notes within the spirit. A splash of simple syrup to round things out balances the cocktail, and a little goes a long way. You can add an egg white for a frothy iteration or keep it simple without.” —Mitch Mandujano, bar manager, Ernesto’s, NYC
“Living in Asia as an observer of the pop culture ‘Campari boom’ and unofficial nomination of [its] fearless leader Stanly Tucci, it prompted me to consider the wave of bitters-fiends that would eventually come knocking on our bars’ doors. Luckily for Sago House and Underdog Inn, we already have a ‘Torino Mix’ of blended rosso vermouth, Punt e Mes, and Campari on tap. This allows us to put together classic Campari cocktails like a journey for our guests, starting with the Americano, and traveling through the Negroni family until we land on our personal favorite, the Old Pal. Created in the 1920s by Harry MacElhone at his New York Bar, traditionally equal parts rye, dry vermouth, and bitter Campari. The classic is balanced much more toward a drier, more astringent palate, served up and finished in three sips. As tastes change, so do we help refine and redefine the classics. Whether you’re softening, opening up, rebalancing, or restructuring the classics, you’re still a part of keeping them alive.” —Jay Gray, CEO & co-founder, Sago House, Low Tide, Ghostwriter and Underdog Inn, Singapore
“The Bicicletta is a perfect, low-ABV, springtime sip. It’s what we here at The Fox call a ‘patio pounder.’ The effervescence of sparkling water with Campari really allows the innate juiciness to shine through, especially when paired with the delicate acidity of a crisp white wine. We will sometimes substitute the wine with a dry vermouth for an added herbaceous twist. This is a great trick at home to use up that last vermouth in the bottle before it goes bad.” —Laura Unterberg, head bartender, The Fox Bar & Cocktail Club, Nashville