Amaro and Campari are similar in some ways, but they are not exactly the same. Amaro is a broad category of Italian herbal liqueurs that are known for their bitter and sweet flavors. Campari is one specific brand of amaro, but there are many other brands and variations available.
Amaro is traditionally made by infusing a mixture of herbs, roots, barks, and other botanicals in a base spirit, such as wine or grain alcohol. The ingredients used can vary widely, resulting in different flavor profiles and levels of bitterness. Some amari are more focused on the bitter side, while others may have a sweeter or fruitier taste.
Campari, on the other hand, is a specific brand of amaro that was created in Italy in the mid-19th century. It is known for its vibrant red color and unique flavor profile. Campari is made using a secret recipe that includes over 60 different ingredients, including herbs, spices, and fruit peels. The exact recipe is closely guarded and known only to a small group of people.
One of the distinguishing characteristics of Campari is its distinctive bitterness. It has a strong, bitter citrus flavor with notes of orange peel and herbs. However, Campari also has a significant amount of sweetness, which helps to balance out the bitterness and give it a more complex flavor profile. This sweetness sets it apart from some other amari, which can be much more bitter and less sweet.
Campari is often enjoyed on its own as a digestive after a meal, but it is also a popular ingredient in cocktails. One of the most famous cocktails made with Campari is the Negroni, which combines equal parts Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth. The bitterness of the Campari adds depth and complexity to the cocktail, making it a favorite among cocktail enthusiasts.
While Campari is considered an amaro, not all amari are Campari. Amaro is a broader category of herbal liqueurs, and Campari is a specific brand within that category. Campari stands out for its distinctive bitter citrus flavor and sweet undertones, making it a versatile ingredient in both classic and modern cocktails.