Today we are talking about Campari vs Aperol, while they may seem similar there are some differences that are good to know.
Italian culture thrives on la dolce vita—the sweet life—and nothing embodies this more than the beloved ritual of aperitivo (a tradition of pre-meal drinks.)
In this universe of flavorful indulgence, two stars shine brightly—Campari and Aperol. They're known worldwide, but what sets them apart?
History of Campari and Aperol
The story of Campari begins in 1860, near Italy's fashion capital, Milan. Our protagonist, Gaspare Campari, crafted this vibrant aperitif, the recipe for which remains a closely guarded secret.
Aperol, the younger sibling, was born in 1919 in the vibrant city of Padua, by the Barbieri brothers. It's only a century old, yet it's carved out a niche for itself in the global aperitif scene.
Campari's alluring bitterness arises from a confidential mix of herbs and fruit soaked in alcohol and water. Its unique taste keeps us guessing about the secret ingredients.
Aperol, less mysterious yet equally fascinating, is a blend of gentian, rhubarb, and cinchona. Its concoction delivers a more approachable flavor, perfect for those new to the aperitif scene.
Campari greets your taste buds with an initial sweetness, which gradually unfurls into its signature bitterness.
Think of a tantalizing blend of herbs, spices, and fruit peels.
It imparts a citrusy note, with a punch of cherry and clove, coupled with a subtle undercurrent of earthiness.
The bitterness, prominent and lingering, originates from the infusion of cinchona bark and common rue, lending it a dry finish that leaves you reaching for more.
Aperol, the genial counterpart, presents a symphony of flavors, yet never overwhelms.
With a low-key bitterness that's gentler than Campari, Aperol offers a subtle sweetness, boasting a citrusy charm and a whisper of vanilla, which makes it much easier on the tounge.
There's a certain brightness to it, with flavors of orange and tangerine at the forefront, underscored by a hint of rhubarb and balanced with a mellow herbal bitterness from gentian flowers.
At 20-28% ABV, Campari carries a stronger alcohol punch compared to its counterpart.
Aperol, milder at 11% ABV, is the laid-back alternative for relaxed sipping.
How to Use Campari
Campari brings a robust character to the table, turning any cocktail into an intriguing experience.
Its prominent bitterness and high alcohol content make it a perfect base for cocktails like the Negroni or Boulevardier, where it stands up well to other strong flavors.
A simple Campari and soda is a classic aperitif, where the effervescence of the soda water lightens the bitterness, allowing the complexity of Campari's flavor to shine.
In a cocktail, Campari adds depth, inviting a pause to appreciate the layers of flavor. It's like a wake-up call for your palate, ideal for aperitifs designed to stimulate the appetite.
How to Use Aperol
Aperol, with its lower alcohol content and gentler bitterness, is a versatile addition to a variety of cocktails.
It's the star in an Aperol Spritz, where its sweet-bitter profile is complemented by the tartness of Prosecco and the effervescence of club soda.
Aperol can also be a great match with gin, vodka, or tequila, adding a dash of sweetness, a hint of citrus, and just the right touch of bitterness.
Used in cocktails, Aperol imparts a pleasing orange hue and an inviting layer of complexity.
It's an ideal choice for leisurely sipping on a sun-soaked patio or for a brunch toast, adding a laid-back, sunny vibe to the occasion.
Whether you're working with Campari's intense allure or Aperol's light-hearted zest, each offers a unique journey into the world of Italian aperitifs.
As you explore, remember that the best drink is one that suits your taste and the moment. Salute and as always, drink responsibly!