Thursday 28 October 2010

Campari Safari!

In my unabashed Campari apology a few posts ago I mentioned that they had stopped using cochineal to colour it. What I hadn't realised was that—as with so many things in modern life—they had also altered the recipe in other ways over the years.

I was very lucky that, while at 69 Colebrooke Row on Monday (surely the bar with the highest ratio of kudos to floorspace in western history) mixology meister Tony Conigliaro gave us a taste of a bottle of the stuff that dates from the 1950s.

The intervening 50 or 60 years has, astonishingly, not harmed it in any way. Tony's first point was you could see the colour was different, but it went far beyond that: much as I like Campari I found that the contemporary stuff (tasted neat) seemed almost crude and ham-fisted compared to the smooth subtlety of the the vintage batch, which had the mellow strength of a vintage port. I could have slid into it like a warm, comforting, luxurious bath, but I was called away to taste other things. So I leave you with this photograph of what is left of its label and the heart-warming period graphics offering an idiot's guide to making a Campari and soda.

Archivists among you might also like to see this snap of a bottle of rum from 1947, also from the back bar of 69 Colebrooke Row.

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