Love Campari? You’ve Got to Try Cappelletti!

updated May 2, 2019
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(Image credit: Megan Gordon)

We go through more Campari than I care to admit at home. The way that many of you casually talk about being out of half-and-half and really needing to pick up another carton? That’s how we talk about Campari; when we’re out, it gets added to the shopping list pretty quickly.

Our home bar has been running low lately, so the other night we walked to our neighborhood bar for a drink instead. When I mentioned to the waiter we were all out of Campari at home, he asked if I’d tried Cappelletti. Until that moment, I’d never heard of Cappelletti. Have you?

Aperitivo Cappelletti is a ruby red, wine-based Italian aperitif that’s been made by the same family for over four generations. According to the back of the bottle, it’s also called “Specialino” and may be the oldest red aperitif of its kind still in production.

So what about the flavor? Although citrusy, herbal Apperitivo Cappelletti and Campari both have bitter finishes, Cappelletti has a round, subtle sweetness that Campari doesn’t have. It’s as if sweet vermouth and Campari married and had a ruby red, bitter baby.

If you’re a fan of cocktails like the Negroni or Americano, Cappelletti is a great replacement for the Campari. However, it’s most traditionally used in a “Spritz,” a cocktail of sparkling wine, bitter red aperitivo, and an orange twist served over ice.

We’ve been scheming up a number of warm-weather Cappelletti drinks, so with any luck, I hope to report back with a good one. At about $20 a bottle, it would be a a great addition to the home bar and a fun mixer to experiment with. The long and short of it is: If you like Campari, you need to get behind Cappelletti this summer!