I’m still on the trail of a Campari drink (other than the Negroni) I like. The first issue of Imbibe included a reader submitted recipe for the Orange Viola – Campari, gin and passion fruit syrup. It is essentially a Negroni but with the sweet coming from the fruit syrup. I tried to track down passion fruit syrup and even passion fruits locally but no luck. (Monin has the syrup, but it seems too hot right now to have it shipped). An idea came to me one night – if you could substitute syrup for the vermouth, why not substitute another syrup for the passion fruit? Here goes:

Orange syrup

  • 1 cup fresh squeezed, strained orange juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • grated zest from the orange

Bring it all to boil and simmer for a few minutes. Strain and cool. Save the zest and let it dry – it is candied orange peel that is quite tasty.

ACG Orange Viola

  • 1 1/2 oz gin
  • 3/4 oz Campari
  • 3/4 oz Orange syrup

Good, taste like a Negroni with an orange edge. The original recipe only calls for a 1/2 oz of syrup. Mine wasn’t sweet enough with just that amount so we adjusted upwards. I suppose you could use other commercally prepared syrups as well. You might need to run some test drinks to get the sweetness level right.

Thinking back to my peaches – I made a peach syrup:

  • 1 1/2 pounds of ripe peach flesh, diced
  • 1/2 cup of sugar

Simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and cool. Add 1 tsp of lemon juice. Save the fruit, it is also quite tasty.

This yields about 3/4 cup syrup. It is not as as sweet as the orange syrup, so you might want to add a little more. I will say that the delicate peach flavor was lost against the Campari, not an improvement. Still had lots of peach syrup left. Here’s where it was good:

Peach Bourbon

  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1 oz peach syrup
  • 2 dashed Angostura bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a glass.

I first tried this in a bourbon sour but the lemon juice dominated the drink, so I omitted it and went the classic cocktail route given above. That one tasted like bourbon, wasn’t too sweet and had a nice peach edge. Keeper.