The Negroni, one of the world's royal cocktails, is celebrated even more this year because it's 100 years old. The essential ingredient: Campari, the elegant Italian bitter.
But there are plenty of ways to liven up the aperitifs, the digestifs, and any other excuse to imbibe with the herbaceous, spicy, slightly smoky Campari, which was invented in 1860 and produced on a bigger scale near Milan about 44 years later.
The Negroni typically combines an ounce each of Campari, sweet vermouth, and gin with ice in an Old Fashioned glass. Stir it and garnish with an orange slice.
The predecessor to the Negroni is the Americano. Salvatore Calabrese notes in "Classic Cocktails," that it first was dubbed the Milano-Torino, based on the cities that produced the Campari and the vermouth. Since it was so popular with traveling Americans, the drink received a new name.
Calabrese's recipe for this lively apetitif calls for 1.5 ounces sweet vermouth and 1.5 ounces Campari, to which you add club soda. The result is a spirited, fresh, fizzy drink. Garnish it with a slice of lemon.
The Boulevardier cocktail brings together an ounce each of Campari, sweet vermouth, and bourbon. Combine it with ice in a mixing glass, says Calabrese. Strain into a cocktail glass and add a cherry for garnish.
And Campari enjoys the company of prosecco or tonic water, too.
Then again, just shake Campari with ice and serve the bitter in a chilled glass. You also can contentedly serve it with club soda or San Pellegrino. Or try it with fresh orange juice and use a slice of orange to complete the drink.
A bottle of Campari typically goes for $20 to $35.