So that bottle of Campari you opened last year has been sitting on your shelf collecting dust. You have guests over again and decide you want to make some cocktails with your half-empty bottle but you are not sure if it’ll poison everyone.
Now you’re scanning the bottle for any signs of an expiration date. Let me tell you, you’re not gonna find one. No need to worry, we got you covered with all your Campari essentials questions starting off with the first most common question, does Campari expire?
Does Campari Expire?
Yes! Luckily, Campari is one of those harder aperitifs to spoil, compared to let’s say a bottle of vermouth which is more prone to being spoiled, that is unless your bottle is really not stored properly. We’ll talk about what’s considered improper storage a little later. Unopened, a bottle of Campari’s shelf life can be considered indefinite or at least close to a decade.
Once opened, however, the clock starts ticking on its shelf life, due to oxidation now being introduced to the liquid. Now if it was properly stored, meaning once it was opened, it was kept under cool conditions, away from the sun or hot temperatures, and sealed tightly, then your bottle can still live a long healthy life.
If your half-full bottle of Campari has been sitting on your bar cart for about a year, there’s still no need to worry. If it’s been kept at moderate room temperature and away from the window, it will still probably taste pretty good and kept mostly intact. The easiest way to preserve your bottles is to keep them upright, stored in a dark cool place, sealed shut. Without a proper cork or if the cap is not twisted tight enough, then the life of the Campari will decrease exponentially.
How can you tell if your Campari has gone off?
You might start noticing a reduction in bitterness, which for some might not be such a bad thing. The aromatics might start to develop a bit of musk to it, the smells that were once fresh and pungent, are now mild and dull. If unopened for a while you’ll notice sugar forming around the inside of the cap, which will probably crunch as you twist it open. Depending on how long it’s been sitting, you might even notice less of a bold dark red coloring and more of a light red color. Again, this is still okay and won’t get you sick.
How do you know if it’s gone completely bad?
If the viscosity (or thickness) of the liquid is much thicker, or if the order of the liquid has gone from kind of musty to downright vinegary, it’s pretty much completely spoiled. Mixed with any spirit will most likely not make you sick, but you’ll probably immediately realize your drink taste bad.
Our advice would be to finish your bottle of Campari within 12 months of opening it. We would even suggest that if you have less than about two-thirds (⅔) of the bottle left, either finish it off or shift it to a smaller container to prevent less oxidation and decrease the speed of spoilage.
What is Campari supposed to taste like?
We can recognize that everyone’s taste buds are different but here are some general tasting notes that Campari will have.
- Potent orange taste
- Bitter aftertaste
- Hint of sweetness
- Some people say it reminds them of the taste of medicine
If you’re a big history buff like I am, and want to learn more about how Campari got started and how the business has evolved over the years, click here to learn more.
Get a bottle of Campari here
In NY, a standard 750 ml bottle, as of the time I’m writing this, will cost you from $30-$40. Sign up right here to get a bottle delivered directly to your door.
Cocktail recipes with Campari
Click on any of our links here to take you to some of our favorite cocktail recipes with Campari in it.
- Old Flame
- Americano or Americano Highball
- Caricature Cocktail
- Le Perroquet
- Psycho Killer
- South Beach
Campari is one of those aperitifs that can be used any season of the year and should always have a place in people’s bar. Its durability allows it to be stored for a very long period of time without spoiling and is a staple tool of the refined mixologist.
Is Campari found in your favorite cocktails of all time? Let us know in the comments down below as well as any recipes that involve the bitter aperitif. Enjoy your mixing! Stay safe and get hammered.