Rule 37: The Calypso Campari Orange

Modern Drunkard Magazine’s articleThe 86 Rules of Boozing, by Frank Kelly Rich states:
Rule 37. Try one new drink each week.
The Rule 37 series of posts chronicle my attempts to accomplish this feat every week.
For the recipes of R37s past, click the Htf do I make these drinks? tab.

So, this one is KIND OF an original. Not really. I didn’t make it up, but it does have a bit of a personal twist to it. I got an email from my friend Leelz, who sends me these things from time to time, with some drink suggestions. There were some interesting beertails (a term I personally abhor, but can’t think of a better alternative), one of which involved Campari and orange juice. So let’s give it a go.

The Calypso Campari Orange
This is the pint version.

– 1 oz Campari
– 1 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
– Top with IPA of your choice

Um. Yeah. Pretty easy. Equal parts Campari and orange (a regular Campari Orange is 1 part Campari, 2 parts orange juice over ice) and dump it in a pint glass. Top with an IPA of your choosing.

The article was geared towards spicing up canned beers for a party setting, so the directions are slightly looser. They suggest taking a “hearty sip” out of your canned IPA to make room for the mixer. I decided to make the mildly classier pint glass version, using a single-hop homebrew IPA that the Irish Lad and I concocted. This one used solely Calypso hops, hence the name. His Amarillo-hopped version turned out to be tastier than my Calypso choice, but it was as fun experiment, and now I’m left with multiple bombers to drink or give away. I’m sure this beer has peaked by now, but let’s give it a go anyway.

In the nose, I certainly smell orange juice, and the Campari comes through, but the IPA isn’t making much of an aroma impact. There’s a bit of a wet grass smell to it, fresh and clean, like a damp lawn getting mowed. A very mild moldiness lurkes underneath, though I’m blaming that on the homebrew being a month or five past its prime.

Yikes. Here we go.

Ok. Um. It’s attacking my tongue. It’s zippy and tangy. That would be the Campari. It’s the dominant flavor in this concoction. Campari bittersweet all up front. There’s some maltiness in the background, but it’s pretty overwhelmed by the Italian. I’m going to need a second attempt to see if I can break through the resistance at Salerno.

Taste two: Zing! On the tongue. Campari again. The orange is in there (even got some pulp into the mix, yargh) and that malt does shine through a bit more. But not enough.

Upon tasting the homebrew on it’s own, it was determined that it’s certainly fallen off. It’s not bad, but there’s a sour note that wasn’t there before. Past prime, but still ok. Just not the hoppy wonder it once was. Maybe I should have used the lone Dogfish 60 Minute IPA lurking in my fridge after all.

So, I think the recipe is solid, but the beer let me down on this one. That said, if you’re going to use a full ounce each of Campari and orange, make it a BIG, bold IPA to stand up to the bittersweet amaro. It’s meant to add a bit of flavor complexity to an IPA and liven things up, but with this one it just dominated. I’d like to try it again, halving the amounts of Campari and orange, to see if I can get a better balance. Play with this one if you like… there’s a great drink in there somewhere. A magical combination of the right IPA and the correct addition of Campari. If you find it, let me know.

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