Happy Belated 150th Campari


Neither Tawn nor I are big drinkers.  That said, we do enjoy an occasional drink, be it a glass of wine with dinner or a cocktail.  My personal favorite (and one Tawn quite enjoys, too) is an apéritif, preferably made with Campari.  An apéritif is a drink enjoyed before dinner, with properties designed to stimulate the appetite.  There is nothing finer to accompany the transition from a busy day to a relaxing meal, in my opinion.


My apéritif of choice is Campari, a bitter infusion of herbs and fruits (including chinotto, a bitter Italian citrus) in alcohol.  The bitter-sweet flavor appeals to me and it has an almost poetic fit to the role it plays in being a bridge between the periods of my day, as I go from the “bitter” of a full day working to the “sweet” of an evening spent in the company of those I care about over a meal.

Perhaps I am overly sentimental.  Maybe it is just the sexy ruby red color that I enjoy so much.  In any case, 2010 marked Campari’s 150th birthday, an occasion I managed to only just recently learn about.  I discovered this milestone when I pulled out a new bottle of the bitters and noticed that the normal label was replaced by a special one.

It turns out, Campari Group commissioned three celebratory labels:

CAMPARI_anniversary_label only

The three labels are different but complementary and together they describe the various facets of the universe of Campari.  (From left to right, as described by the Campari press release.)

Tobias Rehberger’s neo-rationalist world comes to life by means of digital design. His Campari label is built around the concept of a “magic potion”, a “bewitched beverage” emphasized by the bright colors employed in his art work. His work is abstract and is open to various interpretations, like Campari.

Vanessa Beecroft, the well-known artist celebrated for her performances and her watercolors, expressed her own art for Campari focusing on the female image, coherent with her art vocation that uses women’s prototypes to project the artist’s own image. She imagined an ethereal female character wrapped in a fantastic head of hair, red, like the glass of Campari she is holding.

avaf, an art collective who label themselves as “nomads”, presents an extravagant and cross-bred artwork, a typical example of their style. Their interpretation translated into a strong and independent female image, a cross-breed between the jazz singer Nina Simone and the Egyptian queen Nefertiti.


There are many ways to enjoy Campari.  My favorite pre-dinner drink is an Americano, so named because it was especially popular with American tourists to Milan, Italy during Prohibition.  The Americano is 1 ounce of Campari, 1 ounce of sweet vermouth, topped off with soda water and a twist of lemon (or, my preference, an orange slice.)

Finally, to leave you with a twist (to go with your Negroni, Americano, Campari and soda, or just plain tap water), here’s a Campari commercial from early 2005 titled “The Secret”.  Created by D’Adda Lorenzini Vigorelli BBDO in Milano, Italy, and produced by Radical.Media, this clever and stylish ad was a finalist for the 2005 Epica Awards, Europe’s premier creative awards.  I hope you enjoy it!

0 thoughts on “Happy Belated 150th Campari

  1. @AppsScraps –  You know, Brent, the oddest thing. No sooner had I posted this, then I thought of you and imagined that you, of all people, would likely appreciate Campari. Three minutes later, there is your comment.

  2. You can take the most mundane of things and make it exotic. I like the way you have described this drink. I think you will make me take up drinking yet, if you continue this trend Chris.

  3. I like androgynous faces… I won’t remember a thing about this entry except for that commercial. I’ve never tried this before. I think my dad might have drank this before but not in a long time.

  4. @CurryPuffy – At least you would then match what you were drinking!@ElusiveWords –  One question is whether or not you recognized one or both of the actors as cross-dressers and, if only one, which one?@Sc12EeN17aM3 –  The bitterness is something of an acquired taste, but can be quite pleasant. Adding sweet vermouth helps.@yang1815 – Thank you. Vermouth, ice, and garnish will be waiting.@ZSA_MD –  Oh, let’s hope I never become guilty of the sin of driving you to drink! =D@icapillas – Glad you found it informative. After writing it, I was a bit concerned that it sounded like an “advertorial”.@everyday_yogi – Looking at the movie’s IMDB listing, that sounds like a plausible explanation.@Fatcat723 – With soda is for those evenings when pulling out the vermouth and gin (or vodka) is too much extra effort…@murisopsis – Glad you appreciated the artistic angle to the post, even if the drinking angle wasn’t relevant.

  5. i drink my tea straight. my coffee black. my scotch neat. but campari was always just too bitter for me. i’ve never had an americano though, so i’ll have to give it a try (with a slice of orange) the next time i’m out!

  6. I bet Campari is not that popular in North America( at least in Vancouver and NYC where I usually fly),though it’s available on our flights and is printed on the menu, I think I have only served one order per year on average….

  7. @M_1 –  Actually, I’d think that if you take your coffee and tea unadulterated you might enjoy Campari, just because there’s a type of bitterness in all of them. Of course, I write that and simultaneously realize that the bitterness in tea and coffee is really of a different sort than in Campari.@TheCheshireGrins – Truth be told, half the attraction to Campari is purely aesthetic! The color, the bottle…@agmhkg –  Campari definitely is more of a European beverage. If I fly one of your flights, I’ll be sure to order it, though!@brooklyn2028 – Well, I know what to serve if you ever come for a visit! =D

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