Campari is a bitter Italian liqueur or aperitif, obtained by the infusion of herbs and fruit in alcohol and water. And it is a common ingredient of the popular Negroni cocktail.
This ingredient is mainly served on the rocks or used for cocktails, and is especially popular in Italy, but has gained popularity worldwide. Although it is a fairly popular liqueur, Campari is not always on hand, so if you’re looking to make a cocktail with Campari in it and suddenly don’t have any, here are some substitutes.
You can substitute Campari for other liqueurs like Aperol, Fernet Branca, and Maraschino liqueur, or you can use some of the following non-alcohol substitutes below.
Keep reading on for more tips and tricks when substituting Campari.
Best Campari Substitutes
Campari is a great liqueur to keep in your bar since it can add a unique flavor to many cocktails. However, it is not necessary if you don’t have it at hand. There are a lot of other substitutes that you can use such as the next ones.
Aperol is the best substitute for Campari and is closest to it in terms of taste.
It contains rhubarb and other herbs and also has that same deep orangy red hue that Campari has. It can be replaced in cocktails by using the same amount. Or you can enjoy it on the rocks.
If you don’t have Campari or cannot find it, try to look for this substitute.
2. Fernet Branca
There are many varieties of fernet, with Fernet Branca being the most popular. The liqueur is also dark red and made with herbs, making it similar to Campari and thus a perfect substitute when you don’t have Campari on hand.
Fernet Branca has a more minty flavor, thus you can use the same amount when making a cocktail. But beware that it might not taste exactly the same as Campari.
3. Maraschino Liqueur
Luxardo is an Italian brand that produces many aperitifs, one of them being a maraschino liqueur. This is a great substitute for Campari and gives the cocktail a sweeter flavor, that is still deep red and has many delicious herbal tones.
Maraschino liqueur is also a good one to have in your bar as you can mix it with different drinks such as wine and gin. You can also add it to different cocktails.
Cynar is another type of bitters. However, this one is made from artichokes. It is a suitable replacement for a Campari in a negroni because the bitters have an earthy quality to them. So, if you’re looking for a good substitute in a negroni, cynar is a good one to consider.
You can use Cynar to make other cocktails or enjoy it on the rocks. Therefore, it is good to have it in your bar.
5. Homemade Bitters
If you’re a bitters enthusiast, why not try making your own bitters?
You can make them very easily, by infusing your own herbs with vodka. You can select any herbs and spices you like including vanilla, cocoa, anise, cayenne, and many more.
Once infused and steeped properly, you can make your own unique bitters to enjoy in your very own cocktails.
6. Contratto Bitter
Contratto bitter consists of all-natural beet and carrot colorings, which gives it a beautiful, deep red color that compares to Campari.
It is made from an Italian brandy base, giving it a deep and rich flavor, and a slightly bitter taste, making it a perfect substitute for Campari in all cocktails, but especially negroni.
You can also use this liqueur in many different recipes, as well as enjoying it on the rocks.
7. Meletti 1870
Meletti 1879 is another popular bitters in Italy that can also be compared to Campari due to its bitter, yet slightly sweet, taste. It is made with sweet orange, bitter orange, and many other spices and herbs blended with pure spirit.
The slightly bitter liqueur is perfect for negronis and a great replacement for Campari. However, it is also great for making other cocktails as well.
8. Pomegranate juice
You can easily find this non-alcoholic substitute for Campari in local supermarkets. Thanks to its deep red color and slightly bitter taste, pomegranate juice makes for a perfect substitute if you don’t want an alcoholic cocktail
If you want a less alcoholic cocktail, you can use pomegranate juice mixed with drops of bitters.
You can also use grenadine syrup made from pomegranates. It is a lot sweeter than regular pomegranate juice so keep that in mind and use about half the amount.
9. Orange blossom syrup
This is another brilliant alcohol-free alternative to Campari and still gives an orange flavor to the whole drink. It is not as bitter as Campari. So, you can add a few drops of lemon juice or top it off with something so that the cocktail doesn’t become too sweet.
You can use orange blossom syrup in any different cocktail, and it gives a light, refreshing orange flavor to it.
10. Maraschino juice
Lastly, you can use maraschino juice instead of Campari. You can make this juice by draining it out of a jar of maraschino cherries.
The juice has a bright red color and is incredibly sweet. It is not bitter at all, so you will need to add a lot less of it than you normally would with Campari, so start with adding about half the amount of maraschino juice.
It will yield you a fresh, fruity-tasting cocktail that can be made non-alcoholic if needed.
Can you make a negroni without Campari?
Yes, you can make a negroni without Campari. Negroni’s are usually made with Campari, but you can use many substitutes in place of Campari to make it.
The most popular substitute to use would be Aperol, which has a similar look and taste to Campari. You can also use any of the substitutes, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic listed above.
What is the main flavor of Campari?
The most prominent flavor in Campari is bittersweet orange. And it is often enjoyed in the summertime in Italy, on the rocks, with a lemon twist.
The bitter flavor of Campari makes it perfect for cocktails. It also makes it a refreshing drink to have by itself as it is not too sweet and has a lot of flavors.
Campari also has a herby flavor as it has been infused with herbs and spices alongside orange.
What are the ingredients in Campari?
Campari is a spirit that has been infused with bitter herbs, spices, and bitter and sweet orange, infused over a period of time to give a deep flavor to the liqueur.
It is very similar to Aperol and is bitter, so is also similar to other alcohols in the bitters family. The main flavor in Campari is bittersweet orange due to its long infusion period with the peels.
Is Cappelletti the same as Campari?
Cappelletti apertivo has a bitter, sweet, herbal taste, that is very similar to Campari. So, you can use it as a substitute for Campari when making cocktails.
The main difference between Cappelletti and Campari is that Cappelletti has a wine base, while Campari has a spirit base.
Cappelletti is, therefore, a lot sweeter. And although not the same as Campari, you can still use it in cocktails or enjoy it on the rocks.
What other cocktails can I make with Campari?
There is a range of cocktails that include Campari, so if you have a lot left, you don’t just have to stick to making a negroni. Campari spritz, for instance, combines sparkling wine, sparkling water, an orange wedge, and Campari. This is a less sweet alternative to an Aperol spritz.
Campari also goes incredibly well with passion fruit, as both have a slightly sour taste to them. You can make a Passion Amaro cocktail with Campari, passion fruit, tequila, juice, and agave syrup for sweetness. This is a great one if you’re feeling a little more tropical.
If you’re really looking to enjoy the flavor of Campari, the best way to do so is to have Campari on the rocks with a lemon peel, and enjoy it while sitting in the sun.