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Italy is a land of many wonders and one of them is the Campari Spritz. A sparkling elixir served over ice, this iconic Italian cocktail blends the elegance of Prosecco with the distinctive bitterness of Campari and the bubbly charm of club soda. Garnished with a fresh orange slice, it’s the perfect companion for a hot summer day.
From the scenic Italian coastlines to your very own home, this vivacious cocktail is a beautifully balanced dance of flavors: bitter, sweet, and effervescent, brimming with vibrant citrusy notes. It sings of sun-soaked citrus groves and alluring Italian aperitivo traditions.
Ingredients You Need to Make Campari Spritz
- Prosecco: Choose a dry Prosecco, it provides the right balance of bubbles and acidity. Look for bottles labeled “Brut” or “Extra Dry.”
- Campari: The star of this drink, Campari is a bitter liqueur known for its vibrant red color and uniquely herbaceous flavor profile.
- Club Soda: Adds a fizzy touch to the cocktail. Any brand will do, just be sure that it’s cold and fresh.
- Fresh Orange: Choose ripe, juicy oranges with a rich color. They’ll provide both flavor and a vibrant garnish.
What is a Campari Spritz?
In Italy the Campari Spritz is considered an aperitif or aperitivo – a refreshing, before dinner cocktail. It’s a simple mixture of Campari, club soda water, prosecco, ice cubes and an orange slice.
As for amounts, I like what wikipedia has to say: “The Spritz’s recipe is shrouded in mystery, or perhaps never existed. There isn’t a unique composition for a spritz because it changes in every city or small town where the bartenders freely interpret the doses and the entire preparation.” So I’ll share the recipe of how we make it, but encourage you to adjust the amounts to make it your own.
Aperol Spritz vs Campari Spritz
Campari and Aperol are both Italian aperitifs. While they’re used to make similar “spritz” cocktails, they have distinctly different flavors. Aperol has a lighter, sweeter flavor with a lower alcohol content, while Campari has a more robust, bitter flavor and a higher alcohol content.
The beauty of this cocktail lies in its versatility. Here are just a few ideas for adding your own twist:
- Make your garnish from a fresh blood orange for a richer color and a slightly different taste. Or go with a fresh lemon slice to add a sharp, tangy finish.
- Swap Prosecco for a different sparkling wine like Spanish cava, or French Champagne.
- Use tonic water in place of club soda for an even more complex flavor profile.
Tips and Tricks
- Chill your ingredients before mixing to avoid melting the ice and diluting your cocktail too quickly.
- Pour the Prosecco first, then Campari, then top up with soda water to prevent over-foaming.
- Use a vegetable peeler for an elegant, wide orange peel twist.
Mistakes to Avoid
- Skip sweet Prosecco or a sugary soda, as it could overpower the bitter elements of Campari and make your cocktail overly sweet.
- Don’t skip the garnish! The orange slice and twist of peel add a crucial flavor component.
Both are Italian aperitifs, but Campari has a less sweet / more bitter flavor profile and a higher alcohol content than Aperol.
Campari has a unique bitter flavor with notes of herbs, fruits, and spices.
Yes, Campari can be enjoyed straight, on the rocks, or mixed in cocktails.
Easy to prepare, and even easier to enjoy, the Campari Spritz is the epitome of Italian elegance and a celebration of summer in a glass.
More Must-Try Cocktail (and Mocktail) Recipes
If you’re looking for more cocktail inspiration, I recommend these:
- Peach Bellini Recipe (made famous in Venice!)
- Rhubarb Cocktail (with fresh rhubarb and rosemary simple syrup)
- French 75 Cocktail
- Non-Alcoholic Sangria
- Virgin Margarita
- 3 ounces Prosecco
- 2 ounces Campari or Aperol
- 1 ounce club soda
- 1 slice orange
- Fill a large wine glass (~16 ounce) or tumbler with ice cubes. Add Prosecco then Campari and club soda; stir gently. Serve garnished with an orange slice.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.