Campari was invented in 1860 by Gaspare Campari in Novara, Italy. The unique Campari color was originally produced with carmine dye, derived from crushed cochineal insects. In 2006, Gruppo Campari ceased using carmine in its production and the replacement is a closely kept secret.

In 1904, Campari's first production plant was opened in Sesto San Giovanni, near Milan, Italy. Campari was not only a great product but a marketing genius; the company required bars that bought Campari to display the Campari Bitters sign. Brand awareness at its finest…Maybe this is where we get the common bar sign today?? Under the direction of Davide Campari, Gaspare's son, the company began to export; the first city was Nice then overseas. The Campari brand is now distributed in over 190 countries.

Historical Timeline

  • ~1840:Gaspare Campari begins experimenting with making and selling bitter aperitifs around Italy
  • 1860:Gaspari Campari perfects his Campari recipe
  • Late 1860’s:Campari moved his family to Milan and opened the “Caffe Campari”, where some credit him with creating the world’s first cocktail: The Milano-Torino Cocktail, (later renamed “The Americano”.)
  • 1880’s:Campari began working with local artists, appreciating the appeal of art in advertisements. This set the precedent for the next century.
  • 1904:Campari’s now historic “Sesto San Giovanni” production site was opened.
  • 1919-1920:The now-famous Negroni cocktail is supposedly “invented” in Florence when a customer (Count Camillo Negroni) used to order his Americano cocktail with an extra shot of gin.
  • 1920’s:Gaspare’s sons had taken over the company and decided to stop production of everything except Campari
  • Late 1940’s:Campari re-starts production after World War II and kicks off a new advertising campaign with avant-garde artist Carlo Fisanotti.
  • 2006:Pressure from Vegetarians and food-labelling groups for Campari to indicate its insect-derived dye on the label resulted in a change in recipe. Campari began using artificial dye to create its distinctive red color.

Popular Cocktails


1oz Campari, 1oz Sweet Vermouth; 1oz Soda water


1oz Gin; 1oz Campari; 1oz Sweet Vermouth.

Campari Soda:

Campari and soda water in whatever measurements you desire!



Muddle & Stir

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