Food Hero

Happy Hour – Sparkling Campari Cocktail by Katy K
October 17, 2008, 4:47 am
Filed under: cocktails, happy hour, Katy K

Campari is the bright red aperitif drink from Italy. Supposedly its ingredients are a secret so all I can say, from experience, is that Campari has an unusual taste that is really quite bitter. I’ve had other cocktails made with Campari that highlight its bitterness (a Negroni, for example) but these can be an acquired taste.  I found this recipe in a cute magazine called CHOW (Volume 1, Number 4, November/December 2005) which may be just a website now. This cocktail mixes Campari and a simple syrup made with fresh grapefruit and I think it puts the Campari taste in a familiar context that makes it more accessible.  The similarly bitter grapefruit flavor complements the Campari perfectly. To complete the picture (pitcher?) this strong concoction is spangled with light, sweet, sparkling wine.  I’ve made this drink for New Year’s Eve, for Sunday brunch and, this week, for Canadian Thanksgiving. It’s interesting, pretty, and delicious – what more could you want at a party?

Sparkling Campari Cocktail

Sparkling Campari Cocktail


1             grapefruit
1/2  Cup  sugar
1/2  Cup  water 
1     Cup  vodka
1     Cup  Campari
3/4  Cup  sweet vermouth
1 bottle    sparkling moscato

Cut the grapefruit in half, juice one half and reserve the fresh-squeezed juice. Cut the other half of the grapefruit, including the rind, into wedges. Prepare grapefruit syrup by heating the water and sugar in a saucepan on medium until the sugar dissolves. Simmer for a couple of minutes until the syrup thickens slightly, then add the grapefruit wedges and simmer for about 5 minutes until all the juices are released. Allow the syrup to cool to room temperature.  To the cooled syrup, add the vodka, Campari, and sweet vermouth. Mix thoroughly and store in the refrigerator overnight (or at least 1 hour). To serve, pour strained cocktail mix over ice in a glass, add a splash of the reserved fresh grapefruit juice, and top off with 3 ounces of moscato.


...sparkling in the sun.

...sparkling in the sun.

I have made this drink a few times so I took some measurements and the ratio of cocktail mix to sparkling wine seems to be 1:1. After having a conversation with a woman who works in my local wine store regarding exactly what was meant by sparkling moscato in the magazine, she advised me to buy an inexpensive sweet sparkling asti spumante from the grocery store.  It wasn’t a great wine but she thought it was exactly what this recipe called for and it was delicious the first time I made it. The last time I made this I sprang for a more expensive Moscato d’Asti.  I noted that this wine had a regular cork when it was being opened and I felt that the resulting cocktail lacked its usual zing.  So my advice is to choose a sweet sparkling wine that requires a champagne cork.  I think that this will guarantee enough sparkle in your glass…enjoy!


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