Sugar in Early American History
Great Seminars at SF Cocktail Week

Solid Liquids: Campari Syrup

SolidLiquidsProjectSquareLogoIn the last post in the Solid Liquids project, I used dehydrated Campari to make a non-alcoholic Campari & Soda. 

Then it occurred to me that for that purpose there was no need to dehydrate the liqueur completely. I could just burn off the alcohol and have a non-alcoholic syrup. 

So that's what I did. I filled a pot with Campari and took its temperature with a candy thermometer when heating it. Alcohol boils at 172F as opposed to 212F for water, so I tried to keep the temperature between the two. 


It started to bubble around 175 and I could smell alcohol vapor. It began boiling around 183F. When it got to 189F it began to look thicker, as plenty had boiled off.


After an hour total I cooled the liquid to check the volume and found it to be reduced by 50 percent. And since the alcohol content of Campari is 24 percent  alcohol hopefully all the booze and some of the water burned off as well. 


After cooling and storing it, I made another non-alcoholic Campari & Soda. I added about an ounce of Campari syrup to about 3 ounces of soda water. 

It's good, probably better than the powdered liqueur version. But campared with regular Campari & soda, real Campari still tastes better. Again the real deal has more of an orangey flavor, so the non-alcoholic version can use an expressed orange peel added to it. 


I'm guessing that the volatile citrus orange (oil?) in Campari burns off in the cooking and that's why it's not present in the syrup/solid version. 

So: What else should I use this Campari syrup for? 

Update: I just remembered that I saw Campari syrup on the menu at Nightjar in London. I'm not sure if their syrup is the same thing or something else, but it's in two drinks from the summer menu (forgive the funky formatting, it's their font):

bRick lane cocktail
g’vine floRaison gin
campaRi syRup
dolin dRy veRmouth
fResh squeeZed mandaRin
chambeRyZette jelly

baRnaRd’s bRew
nut-infused chaiRman’s ReseRve Rum
nightjaR faleRnum
caRibbean bitteRs
campaRi syRup
fResh squeeZed lime


The Solid Liquids Project index is at this link




Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Hey Camper-

Freeze into Campari cube(s) and used in place of some of normal Campari in a Negroni or Agavoni?

Camper English

Great idea!


Wasn't sure if the sugar content would allow a solid freeze, but at least with the alcohol stripped it's possible...let me know if you give it a shot.

Camper English

Good point about the sugar. I just put some in an ice cube tray and will let you know.


You could also just burn off the alcohol by lighting it on fire while on a stove. When it won't ignite anymore, the alcohol is gone.

Tony Harion

If you try this again, cover it with a lid in the beginning and try a shot of the drippings.
I bet it will be interesting…


You can't call it alcohol-free unless you're under a certain percentage. For beer, that is under 0.5% (1 proof). Mixes of two liquids don't boil the same as the individual liquids so there is probably still alcohol in there. Alcohol-light is probably more accurate from a labeling stand point.

Camper English

Yep, it's nothing I'd serve to an alcoholic just to be safe.

Camper English

You're right zach- it didn't even remotely begin to freeze.

Dominik MJ

Frederic is absolutely right. To go with the temperature of ethanol is not really a save bet - in the alcohol - water [-sugar] mixture [Campari} both, water and ethanol are evaporating - alcohol evaporates just more than water. Think about a bathtub: while the water definitely doesn't reach 100 degree centigrade - the boiling point of water, it already evaporates a lot before.

Your assumption is quite a classic one, seen before in the kitchen. Chefs thought due to cooking or flambéing, sauces would lose their alcohol. Nowadays they know more - it is almost impossible [even after several hours cooking] to get rid of all alcohol!
Like said, flambeing is also not a valid procedure [room temperature liquids definitely stop to be flammable below 35% - hot liquids have a slightly lower alcohol flaming point].
The only really working method to make alcohol-free Campari is really to evaporate it completely and reconstitute with water.

Lesley Davies

You need nitrogen and silicone moulds

jeff royster

I'm way late to the party. But I did the math so figured I should share. If you start with 24% and end up with half the starting volume, then the remaining syrup is only 0.45%. BUT, if you weren't being accurate and say 60% of the original volume remained then the syrup would 2.5%.

*Math based on only water and ethanol boiling off on the assumption that the orange oil or anything else is too minute to matter. And it is ABV dependent and non-linear, say you reduced a 30% liquor by half then the syrup would be 1.57%.

Camper English

@Jeff royster - Cool, thanks!

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)