Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Red Planet

Many people who are curious about Campari take their first sip from a friend’s drink, and follow it with displeased facial contortions and the incredulous remark, “How can anyone drink that stuff?” Any seasoned mixologist will respond that Campari is an acquired taste, a true roller coaster ride for your palate.

What exactly is Campari? It is a bitter Italian aperitif created in 1860 by, no surprise, Mr. Campari. It is comprised of a mysterious mixture of herbs steeped in alcoholic spirits. Some known ingredients include quinine, rhubarb, pomegranate, ginseng, bergamot oil, orange peel, cascarilla bark, and a red dye made from – eek – bugs. It sounds a little scary, yet this classic beverage has been adopted in American culture as a sexy drink.

There are lots of ways to drink Campari, Campari and soda being the most common. The ever-sexy James Bond has embraced both Negronis (Campari, gin, sweet vermouth) and Americanos (Campari, sweet vermouth, soda). In Japan, Campari is served with pineapple juice and grenadine. Campari has even been used as an ingredient in sorbet.

Felicia has concocted a slightly sweet Campari cocktail that teases you with a variety of subtle flavors. From the aroma to the first sip to the surprising finish, this cocktail will delight you with its complexity and leave you feeling sexy.

Red Planet

1 ounce Campari
¾ ounce Grand Marnier
1 ounce fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
club soda
orange wheel

Fill a rocks glass with ice. Add Campari, Grand Marnier and grapefruit juice. Top with soda. Garnish with orange wheel.

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