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!