Campari Martini via Saugatuck Grain & Grape

Jeff Marron

The bitterness of Campari can be overwhelming to a lot of people. This is the reason why if you ask some people if they like it, they'll scrunch their face up and say "No! It's terrible!". While on the other hand, the part of the population that either grew up with sipping Campari after big meals to aid digestion or have had it properly incorporated into a delicious cocktail would disagree. I would fall into the "Campari Lovers" category. Although, there was a time in my life which I couldn't stand the stuff. It was only until I had a couple of sips of a perfectly made Negroni cocktail that I had changed my mind. 

Inspired by other recipes, I tweaked this cocktail to soften the bitterness and bring out more of the beautiful complexity and citrus notes of Campari. The sea salt allows the hidden orange citrus, rhubarb and herbal notes to push forward on your palate. It creates a different experience on the tongue allowing different taste buds to "fire" to highlight more subtle flavors. Simple syrup acts as a smoothing agent. It carries all of these flavors to the back of the throat, softening the bitterness and adding a well place sweetness in this refreshing cocktail. This is a great cocktail for any time of the year for any occasion. 

Campari Martini

3 oz Campari

1/2 oz Simple Syrup 1:1

A healthy pinch of sea salt 


Combine ingredients in a mixing glass.

Stir to dissolve salt. 

Add ice and stir until properly diluted and well chilled.

Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe or martini glass.

Garnish with a lemon twist with the oils expressed over the cocktail. 

To express citrus oils ove a cocktail, cut a swath of lemon with a little white pith as possible using a vegetable peeler. The piece that you cut off should roughly be 2 1/2 inches long by 3/4 inch wide. Pinch the lemon peel over the cocktail and you will notice the essential citrus oils spray out. This makes all the difference in the world in the flavor of the cocktail.