Campari is a divisive substance, inspiring both passionate praise and pucker-faced disdain. There's no accounting for this business—it simply is what it is—and your first taste might send you skittering for one camp or the other pretty quickly. I'm in the passionate-praise camp, and if you are too (or are still weighing your options), stick around.
The question with Campari is: What do you do with it? As much as I love it, a big tumbler-full isn't the thing. Cut it, though, with some soda water and squeeze in a big wedge of lime, and we’re suddenly in delicious bitter-sweet summer-drinking bliss. But I'll argue that Campari reaches its finest culmination in the ruby red elegantly complex classic cocktail, the Negroni.
The Negroni (easy as falling off a bike):
1 oz ginBottoms up!
1 oz Campari
1 oz sweet vermouth
twist of orange peel
Fill a rocks glass with ice. Combine the gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth—a divine trinity—in the glass. Stir. Squeeze the orange twist over the glass (to extract the oils), run it around the rim, and drop it in. Weep with joy and that your life includes such sweet bitter ginny bliss.