You bought a spirit or liqueur because a cocktail recipe called for a very minute amount. Now you’re stuck with the remaining 9/10ths of the bottle and what to do with it. No worries. Thrifty bartenders weigh in with tips and recipes for getting every last drop out of an underutilized ingredient so it doesn’t gather dust on your bar shelf.
Odds are that if you have a bottle of Campari on hand you’re either a fan of the boozy and stirred Negroni or its kin, the Americano. Sure, Spritz drinkers in the know may sub it in for Aperol in an ice-filled wine goblet while those who take a deep dive into Tiki will recognize it as an ingredient in a Jungle Bird. But beyond those classics, the Italian crimson-tinged liqueur is often considered too bitter, too intense, too red to have wide appeal. Affatto, say modern bartenders.
This beer-tail with mezcal is a most unexpected Campari cocktail. “Two bitters don’t make an extra bitter,” says Romanos. “The grassy, smoky notes in Union mezcal and the richness of the cinnamon demerara provide just enough balance to the bitterness in both the ale and the Campari.”
This cocktail by Goodwin was inspired by agua fresca, a light, nonalcoholic beverage popular in Mexico. Campari and bianco vermouth add both bitter and semisweet notes, peppermint and lime are cooling and fresh, salt amplifies the ingredients and cucumber bitters round it all out.
Marianella cites the renaissance of the Negroni as the reason that newer generations of cocktail fans have cozied up to Campari, which for years was quite a polarizing ingredient. “There is no need to try to convince people to try it,” he says. This sour uses Campari as its base, gets a spicy kick from ginger syrup and Creole bitters, and a silky mouthfeel from egg white.