We assume everyone is familiar with Campari; the distinctive red alcoholic liqueur, most frequently used in cocktails. It’s the one that gives the likes of a Negroni its bitterness. The Italian powerhouse Contratto has now launched a very similar product. Based on recipes dating back to 1933, Contratto Bitter is all natural – no artificial colors or flavors – a top quality, artisanal alternative to the industry standard products of today. Contratto Bitter is a heady mix of 24 herbs, spices, roots and seeds include aloe, wormwood, bitter orange peel, cloves, cardamom, nettle, ginger and many more. These are combined with Italian Brandy to create a beautiful bitter reminiscent of Campari, but dare we say, a whole lot better. Its color comes from vegetable extracts – carrots and beetroot. A slow, cold maceration process is carried out according to tradition, and the result is a 22% liqueur. It’s somewhat sweeter than its famous rival Campari, a touch fruitier though less grapefruity, and there’s a hint of vanilla in there too. Mixing Contratto Bitter in cocktails is the way to go; and we always be favor the Negroni 1 part gin, 1 part Contratto Bitter, 1 part sweet vermouth (Contratto Vermouth Rosso perhaps), stirred over ice, and garnished with an orange peel. Alternatively, you can experiment with the cocktail listed below, or just adding a splash of soda will do as well – all are refreshing summer cocktail alternatives nobody will be mad at drinking! Bitter Sweet 1 part Contratto bitter 1 part Moscato d’Asti 1 part soda water Serve in a white wine glass with ice, and garnish with a slice of lemon. Tasting Note: Round and aromatic on the nose with just a touch of vanilla. Rich, generous and layered on the palate with a touch of bitterness on the palate from the orange peel, with a nice warming spice on the finish. An exquisite mixer for cocktails!!