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This sparkling coral pink Venetian Blush Campari orange cocktail is a delicious pre-dinner aperitif. It features the classic crimson-hued Italian liqueur mixed with orange and pomegranate juices topped with sparkling soda.
It makes a pretty cocktail for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day or brunch, but is also an easy summer drink that’s very thirst-quenching and not too sweet.
What is Campari?
Along with Aperol and Cynar, Campari is one of the most popular aperitivos to enjoy in Venice and northern Italy.
Like other Italian aperitivos, it’s traditionally enjoyed as a pre-dinner drink to stimulate the appetite, open the palate and aid digestion.
It continues to prepare the ruby red drink according to the original secret formula.
The mixture is a blend of citrus peel, roots and herbs as well as aromatic botanicals like chinotto (myrtle-leaved orange tree) and cascarilla, a dried bark sourced in the Bahamas, Dominican Republic and Haiti.
The secret mixture is then infused in an alcohol base.
Like other Italian red bitters, Campari’s deep crimson colour was originally sourced from the natural dye of the cochineal insect, a beetle that feeds on the prickly pear cactus. These days, it’s made from artificial colour, except for Campari produced in Brazil.
Major Differences between Campari and Aperol
What does Campari taste like? The main flavour is orange. It’s slightly bitter and herbaceous and fills your nose with notes of ripe oranges. If you like the taste of blood orange or marmalade you’ll love Campari.
Campari’s characteristic flavour is so versatile, it’s enjoyed an enduring popularity and has been a part of Italian art, sports, fashion and popular culture for more than 150 years.
At 25% ABV (in North America), Campari has a higher alcohol content than Aperol at 11%. It’s also not as sweet or syrupy.
Famous Cocktails Made With Campari
While you can drink Campari straight it’s usually mixed into a cocktail. These are the most popular Campari cocktails:
- Negroni – Campari, sweet vermouth and gin,
- Americano – Campari and sweet vermouth (James Bond ordered this in Casino Royale),
- Garibaldi – Campari and orange juice shaken until frothy,
- Campari Cocktail – Campari, vodka and Angostura bitters,
- Campari and Soda – generally two parts soda to one of Campari.
Sip a Campari cocktail and imagine being beside a canal in Venice listening to a gondolier’s song as he glides by.
Ingredients for a Venetian Blush Campari Cocktail
- vodka – preferably a smooth premium brand such as Crystal Head or Tito’s Handmade Vodka,
- fresh-squeezed orange juice,
- pomegranate juice,
- Sanpellegrino Aranciata Rossa sparkling soda (chilled).
Step by Step Instructions on Making This Campari Orange Cocktail
Please scroll down to the recipe card for exact quantities of ingredients.
1. Fill a double old-fashioned, stemless wine glass or specialty cocktail glass with ice cubes made with filtered water.
2. Pour in the vodka and Campari.
3. Squeeze the fresh oranges to make orange juice. Add the pomegranate and orange juices to the glass. Stir gently.
4. Top with enough chilled Sanpellegrino Aranciata Rossa sparkling soda to fill the glass.
5. Then, garnish with an orange peel. Citrus peels are full of aromatic oils, which add depth and nuance to finished cocktails. All you really need for this cocktail is a piece of peel to add some aromatic oil to its surface.
But if you’d like a fancy version, here are some instructions on how to create orange peel garnishes like a professional bartender.
How to Serve this Venetian Blush Cocktail
- Serve an aperitif 30 to 60 minutes before dinner to stimulate the appetite, open the palate and aid digestion. This orange juice and Campari cocktail is especially good in advance of rich, special-occasion dishes such as Grilled Beef Steak, Broiled Lobster Tail and Wild Mushroom Risotto with Truffle Oil.
- To make a large batch of this cocktail, mix the vodka, Campari orange and pomegranate juices in a pitcher up to one day in advance. Cover and store in the refrigerator. Add ice and sparkling soda to the pitcher just before serving.
- For a summer thirst-quencher, switch to a highball glass and add club soda to fill the glass.
- Another fun idea is to add some extra bitters to this cocktail. Recently, aromatic bitters are enjoying a rise in popularity, so there’s a wide variety of bitters to choose from. Adding just a drop or two in your cocktail can add a whole new dimension of flavour so it’s fun to experiment with adding additional bitters to this cocktail.
- At a brunch or dinner party, set out a tray of bitters for guests to customize their own Venetian cocktail with added bitters.
- The bitters idea is similar to the Pimp Your Prosecco station popular for wedding showers.
Venetian Blush Cocktail - Campari and Orange Aperitivo
- 1 ounce Campari
- 1 ounce vodka
- 2 ounces orange juice freshly squeezed
- 1 ounce pomegranate juice
- 5 ounces Sanpellegrino Aranciata Rossa 1/2 can approximately
- Fill a double old-fashioned, stemless wine glass or specialty cocktail glass with ice cubes made with filtered water.
- Pour in the vodka and Campari.
- Squeeze the fresh oranges to make orange juice. Add the pomegranate and orange juices to the glass. Stir gently.
- Top with enough chilled San Pellegrino Aranciata Rossa sparkling soda to fill the glass.
- Garnish with an orange peel. Citrus peels are full of aromatic oils, which add depth and nuance. All you really need to finish this cocktail is a piece of peel to add some aromatic oil to its surface.
- Serve this aperitif 30 to 60 minutes before dinner to stimulate the appetite, open the palate and aid digestion.
- To make a large batch, mix the vodka, Campari orange and pomegranate juices in a pitcher up to one day in advance. Cover and store in the refrigerator. Add ice and sparkling soda to the pitcher just before serving.
Other Refreshing Cocktail Recipes You Might Enjoy
- Sparkling Mango Cocktail
- Fresh Mango Lemonade Cocktail
- Sparkling Bourbon Peach Cocktail
- Apple Cider Mojito
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Dividing her time between Canada, Guatemala and Mexico (or the nearest tropical beach), Michele Peterson is the founder of A Taste for Travel. Her award-winning travel and food writing has appeared in Lonely Planet’s cookbook Mexico: From the Source, National Geographic Traveler, Fodor’s and 100+ other publications.
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