This tropical twist on the Campari Soda is a fun way to add flavor while softening the bitterness of the liqueur. An easy infusion is the key to adding pineapple flavor without the added sweetness of a syrup, or the tartness of fresh pineapple juice.
Campari: the quintessential Italian red bitter
Campari is a bright red liqueur with a characteristic bitter bite. It’s made with a secret blend of botanicals and its flavor is citrusy with herbal and spice notes. Although it’s intensely bitter, it’s also sweet and a bit syrupy.
Campari is probably best known for its integral role in the classic Negroni cocktail. The Negroni is an equal parts mix of gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth.
There are many variations on the classic template, most notably the Boulevardier (which swaps in bourbon for gin), and the Negroni Sbagliato, which replaces the gin with sparkling wine. Try my Strawberry Negroni or Strawberry Negroni Sbagliato, with strawberry-infused Campari!
Another classic Campari cocktail is the Americano, also known as the Milano-Torino. Just two ingredients, the Americano is an ounce each of Campari and sweet vermouth topped with sparkling water. This bittersweet, tall drink is a refreshing and light way to enjoy cocktail hour.
If you enjoy the light and bubbly Americano and the potent, bitter flavor of Campari, the Campari Soda is for you. An ounce and a half of Campari is chilled and topped with ice-cold club soda, then finished with the oils of an orange peel.
The Campari Soda is lower in alcohol than an Americano, and also less sweet. It’s a great option for Campari lovers or for times when you want a super light aperitivo.
If you like simple Campari cocktails, try a Garibaldi with fluffy orange juice!
How to infuse Campari with pineapple
Creating liquor and liqueur infusions is easier (and often quicker) than you might think. The best part of creating your own infusions is that it’s not an exact science.
Precise measurements are not required and you can always add more spirit or more fruit or let the mixture sit for longer until you reach the flavor you’re after.
My general rule of thumb for basic fresh produce infusions is to fill a mason jar about half way with the fruit, then top it with my spirit, making sure not to overfill the jar. If you want to use measured ingredients, go for a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio.
A good place to start is with 1 cup of pineapple (chunks) and 1 cup of Campari. Many Campari infusion recipes call for a whole pineapple or an entire liter of Campari, but that’s just too much of a commitment for me. I prefer to make smaller batches of my infusions to ensure they’re enjoyed before they go bad (or just taste less fresh).
Fresh pineapple-infused Campari should last weeks or longer in the refrigerator, but I like to use up my liqueur infusions within a couple of weeks. Infusions with higher proof spirits will last longer and taste fresher longer.
More flavor, less bitterness
As well as adding a new dimension of flavor to you Campari, fruit infusions also significantly tone down the liqueur’s bitterness. This makes it a fun way to introduce Campari to drinkers who aren’t accustomed to its intensity.
This recipe is also great with strawberry-infused Campari! Follow the same steps as above, just replace the pineapple with fresh, hulled strawberries. Strawberry Campari makes a delicious and fruity Negroni variation that’s much less bitter than the classic cocktail.
Use quality ice
I made these cool clear tiki cubes with a mold from Tovolo. Learn more about the Tovolo molds in my craft ice guide. I recommend using large, slow-melting pieces of ice or a single large Collins spear for the best Campari Soda. Because it’s a very simple highball, it benefits from less dilution and being extra cold. Learn all about how your ice affects your drinks in my guide to the best ice for cocktails.
Use high quality sparkling water
When making a highball, you want to use a chilled, highly carbonated water. I recommend craft club sodas such as Q Mixers or Fever-Tree, or the extra bubbly, slightly saline Topo Chico. You can also use a regular seltzer water with good results, just make sure it’s super cold.
Don’t forget the garnish
The oils from an orange peel liven up this Pineapple Campari Soda and cut through the bitterness. Don’t skip the twist! In addition to an orange peel, I also like to express a lime twist when using pineapple-infused Campari. Find more garnish ideas in my citrus peel garnish guide.
Pineapple Campari Soda
- 1½ oz pineapple-infused Campari*
- 4-6 oz quality sparkling water
- Fill a tall glass with ice. Pour the pineapple-infused Campari over the ice, then top with chilled sparkling water.
- Garnish with an expressed orange peel.
- 1 cup pineapple chunks
- 1-2 cups Campari