Love it or hate it, Campari is back. After keeping a low profile in recent years, the bitter red spirit—a secret blend of herbs, spices and fruit that debuted in Italy in the 1800s—is riding the retro liqueur wave. But you're more likely to find Campari on your plate than in your cocktail glass. Chef Patricia Yeo at New York City's Pazo sautés shallots, orange zest and grapefruit and deglazes the mixture with Campari to create a sauce for quail. She says she enjoys wrestling with the spirit's strange flavor: "You can't put your finger on it." At Seattle's new Library Bistro, chef Matt Costello uses the liqueur in the vinaigrette for a salad of butter lettuce and fresh hearts of palm. Campari is making its way into desserts too: Mario Batali's new Otto Enoteca Pizzeria in Manhattan serves a Campari sorbet. And at Portland, Oregon's Pazzo, chef Nathan Logan has been experimenting with Campari in granitas and panna cotta. "The taste is too strong for a lot of people," says Logan, "but I love how it cuts the sweetness."
--Salma Abdelnour