Bright red and bitingly bitter, Campari is a solid addition to any well-stocked home bar. The Italian aperitif is sucked down like water in Western Europe, and while it’s found a spot on bar shelves across the U.S., it’s still an intimidating drink for the uninitiated.

Campari begins its life as a base spirit and a proprietary mixture of herbs and bark. The bitter mixture is steeped in the spirit to create Campari’s unique taste. An aperitif is traditionally served before a meal to stimulate appetite, but we also find the bitter properties soothing after an indulgent dinner. On its own Campari is quite strong, but tempering it with some soda water and an orange wedge makes for a very simple, refreshing drink. For a more complex, yet still easy-to-make cocktail, grab some gin and sweet vermouth to mix up a Negroni, perhaps the most famous drink to feature Campari. The recipe is bulletproof and elementary.

Recipe and more vintage art goodness after the jump.

Negroni

1 ounce dry gin
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce sweet vermouth

Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice until cold; then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange peel.

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