While its harsh bite results in campari and its siblings being serious under-appreciated in the UK, these bitter spirits are so popular in Italy that the companies that produce them are some of the most successful in the country.
These feisty spirits and fortified wines are traditionally drunk as a digestif at the end of a meal, but sipping on a mix of campari or other bitters with soda water and ice is also popular.
Don’t confuse these bitters with very potent bitters, such as Angostura and Peychaud's, which are added by the drop to modify some cocktails and should never be drunk on their own.
The bite of campari is the most famous and is traditionally drunk as an aperitif. Perhaps an acquired taste, a simple campari mishmash can involve soda water, lemon juice and ice or orange juice.
With forty-odd herbs and spices, Fernet Branca is renowned for its restorative properties. This medicinal knock-back includes a prescription of saffron, cardamom, basil, aloe and bay leaves. Bologna’s Amaro Montenegro, flavoured with vanilla is easier on the palate and Amaro Braulio offers a smoother, more sophisticated flavour.
Campari doesn’t just make a sophisticated addition to a meal, many London bars serve campari cocktails which offer a refreshing alternative to the standard cocktail list.