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If you’re looking for a quick and easy 2-ingredient cocktail, you can’t go wrong with Campari and soda.

In this article, you will learn how to make the Italian classic Campari and soda.


What is Campari?

Campari is a vibrant, ruby-red Italian liqueur.

It was created in 1860 by Gaspare Campari in Novara, Italy. This iconic beverage is a staple in classic cocktails and a popular apéritif worldwide.

Campari has intense orange, herbal and floral aromas with a pleasant bitter aftertaste.

Campari is a potent drink and while it does contain sugar, it tastes dry and bitter.

Campari is known for its vibrant red color, which is one of its distinguishing features. Its intense hue comes from artificial coloring and natural ingredients.

Campari and soda with orange garnish

Campari and Soda recipe

A classic Italian summer drink.
Servings 1


  • 2 oz Campari 57 ml
  • 6 oz soda water 170 ml
  • Ice cubes
  • Slice of orange or lemon to garnish


  • Fill a tall glass with ice.
  • Add the Campari and soda water.
  • Garnish with orange or lemon slice.

Campari and soda ingredients

The ingredients for Campari and soda couldn’t be simpler:

A bottle of Campari: Campari should be relatively easy to find in supermarkets and liquor stores.

Soda water: Any soda water will do. I experimented with an Italian soda water called San Pelligrino and the French soda water Perrier. See below for details.

Ice: Don’t forget to make or buy lots of ice if you are going to be making Campari and soda for a crowd.

Garnish: Garnish with slices of orange or lemon or experiment with other citrus fruits like lime or even pink grapefruit.

Campari and soda ingredients

Campari and soda taste

As mentioned above, Campari is a strong-flavored drink with bitter botanical and citrus notes.

It is too potent for me personally to drink neat but mixed with soda and ice, it tastes pleasant and refreshing.

The flavor of Campari and soda depends on the recipe used, more specifically the ratio of Campari to soda. The more soda in the recipe, the less potent the flavor of Campari.

The classic ratio is 3 parts soda to 1 part Campari. This is the ratio that I have used here.

Any less Campari and it will be too diluted (for me at least), but if you like potent flavors you can increase the Campari.

I recommend starting with the tried and trusted 3:1 formula and adjusting and experimenting from there.

Tips for making Campari and soda

Use a highball glass or any tall, narrow glass.

Chill your Campari and soda in the fridge before making to ensure a cool, refreshing drink.

For a more traditional Campari, use a soda siphon to pour the soda. This will create a layer of foam on top.

Recipe variations for Campari and Soda

Despite being a simple drink with only two main ingredients, there is still lots of room to play around with the exact recipe.

San Pellegrino and Perrier water

Soda water

For this experiment, I tried two different soda waters. As outline above, one Italian and one French. As you can see from the image above, the San Pellegrino had more bubbles than the Perrier; however, tasted side by side there really wasn’t much difference in taste.

The Perrier also created lots of fizz and a temporary foam top when added to Campari. So, while the Perrier looked less fizzy, it practice it didn’t taste it.

Even though there wasn’t a discernible difference between San Pellegrino and Perrier for me, it is still worth experimenting as some soda waters have very unique flavors that can have an impact on the overall flavor of Campari and Soda.  

Vichy Catalan from Spain, for example, has a slightly salty flavor and soft bubbles. The bubbles in Vichy Catalan are natural and not added through carbonation.


Campari and soda with orange garnish

I tried both orange and lemon garnish and both work well.

The orange garnish brings out the orange flavors in Campari.

Campari does have sugar in it, but it is not a sweet drink and tastes bone dry. Squeezing a wedge or two of orange adds a nice touch of sweetness, as well as bringing out the orange flavors.

A squeeze of lemon brings bright citrusy notes to the drink.

How to drink Campari and soda

Campari was originally served in bar Camparino in Galleria, Milan and it is traditionally an aperitivo/apéritif, meaning a drink to be enjoyed before dinner.

The bitter herbal properties in liqueurs like Campari are believed to stimulate the appetite.

That said, nowadays, it is often enjoyed as a refreshing summer drink.

Its vibrant red color also makes Campari a great drink for festive Christmas parties.

Read with confidence: I am WSET L2 Award in Spirits & Diagio Bar Academy certified.