Summer Cocktail Week: How to Make a ‘Campari Light’

Today’s summer drink, a beer cocktail, might be our simplest. As much as I love our lush porters during the fall, come July, light, dry, refreshing lagers are my garden companion. Sometimes it’s the only thing that makes all this yard work not feel so much like work.

My pick secret shame weakness? Coors Light. It’s only slightly less lowbrow than Natural Light…while also lacking the aesthetic/peer pressure appeal of Pabst. But I regret nothing. Coors Light has a bit more taste than water and is a slim 102 calories per serving, and just 4.2% alcohol by volume. (Get much higher and you’ll need to be extra-careful with those hedge trimmers.)


Now enter the Campari. Campari is a dark red Italian aperitif made with botanicals like orange, rhubarb and a secret combination of herbs (the herbs are always secret, aren’t they?). The liqueur adds a bitter, spicy and vaguely fruity injection of flavor into the light lager. Adding Campari to beer is hardly an innovation — we’ve seen it served with IPAs and white beers along with lemon or lime garnish. However. Aside from the fact that Chantal and I are generally not fans of hoppy IPAs, we didn’t want to make this refreshment too bitterly complex.

So for our version, we let the Campari do all the bittering, and let the light lager canvas do all the refreshing. We think this is one of the cleanest ways to enjoy the full flavor of Campari, second only to the classic Campari and soda.

Here is our recipe.

Campari Light

Serves one.

1 ounce Campari
12 ounces light lager (We’re partial to, yes, Coors Light)


Pour light lager over Campari in a tall lager glass.

Tread lightly.


Campari Light.