Campari is a bitter Italian aperitif made according to a secret recipe originally developed in 1860 by Gaspare Campari in Milan. Campari is the result of a unique blend of aromatic herbs mellowed in selected spirit. Campari has a distinctive red color originally from a cochineal dye, which is derived from an insect, Dactylopius coccus.
However,in most Campari's produced worldwide, an artificial coloring agent has replaced the cochineal dye. It also contains cascarilla bark, a botanical product from the Bahamas. This bark has a characteristic strongly bitter flavor. These and other substances which make up Campari are steeped together in an infusion of bitter herbs, which is strained to remove particles of the plants before being bottled.
Campari is often mixed with soda and ice, but it is also consumed without a mixer and used in some cocktails. Regular Campari has an astringent, bittersweet flavor, but a sweet Campari is also available.