How are Campari and Aperol different?

Answered by Cody Janus

Campari and Aperol are both popular Italian liqueurs that are often used in cocktails. While they share some similarities, they also have distinct differences in terms of taste, flavor profile, and usage.

1. Taste and Flavor Profile:
– Aperol: Aperol is known for its light and refreshing taste. It has a lower alcohol content (11%) compared to Campari, making it milder on the palate. Aperol has a prominent orange flavor with subtle hints of grapefruit and bitter spices. It is slightly sweet, almost like an orange candy, which makes it a popular choice for those who prefer a lighter and less bitter taste.
– Campari: Campari, on the other hand, has a more intense and complex flavor profile. It has a higher alcohol content (around 24%) and a deep orange peel flavor. Campari is renowned for its strong herbal bitterness, which can be an acquired taste for some. It also exhibits notes of rhubarb, dark cinnamon, and other spices, giving it a deeper and more robust flavor compared to Aperol.

2. Usage in Cocktails:
– Aperol: Aperol is commonly used as a key ingredient in the popular cocktail, Aperol Spritz. This cocktail combines Aperol, Prosecco, and a splash of soda water, creating a refreshing and effervescent drink. Aperol’s lighter and sweeter profile makes it versatile in other cocktails as well, such as Aperol Sour or Aperol Negroni.
– Campari: Campari is famously used in the classic cocktail, Negroni, which consists of equal parts Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth. Its bitter and complex flavor adds depth and character to the cocktail. Campari is also used in other cocktails like Americano (Campari, sweet vermouth, and soda water) and Boulevardier (Campari, bourbon, and sweet vermouth). Its bold flavor makes it a preferred choice for those who enjoy a more intense and bitter taste in their drinks.

3. Serving and Pairing:
– Aperol: Aperol is often served over ice and topped with Prosecco and a splash of soda water to create an Aperol Spritz. It is best enjoyed as a refreshing aperitif, especially during warm summer months. Aperol’s lighter taste makes it a great companion for lighter dishes, salads, and seafood.
– Campari: Campari is typically served straight or on the rocks, allowing its complex flavors to shine. It can also be used as a component in various cocktails, as mentioned earlier. Campari’s bitter profile makes it an excellent choice for digestifs, enjoyed after a meal. It pairs well with bold and rich flavors, such as aged cheeses, cured meats, and dark chocolate.

While Aperol and Campari are both Italian liqueurs with orange flavors, they differ in terms of taste, bitterness, and usage. Aperol is lighter, sweeter, and more approachable, while Campari is bolder, more bitter, and complex. The choice between the two ultimately depends on personal preference and the desired flavor profile for a cocktail or aperitif.