The best-selling bitter liqueur in the world was invented in 1862 by the Italian entrepreneur Gaspare Campari (1828-1882). He called it "Bitter d'Olanda". In German this means "Dutch Bitter", because the so-called bitters were very popular with the Dutch. In 1867 he opened his café "Duomo" in Milan. In 1904 the first Campari production facility was opened in Sesto San Giovanni (Lombardy). Under the management of the founder's son Davide Campari, the company began exporting, first to France but soon overseas as well.
The Campari is still produced today according to a secret company recipe. According to the company, only president Luca Garavoglia, with the help of the technical director and eight employees, produces the basic concentrate. Luca Garavoglia is also the only person in the world who knows the complete original recipe. However, some ingredients are known: Cinchona bark, ginseng, pomegranate, substances from the cascarilla tree, rhubarb, orange peel and citrus oil. First, in large barrels (50 hectolitres) of Slovenian oak, a decoction is produced from the more than 60 different herbs, roots and fruits. In the process, the water-soluble aromatic substances are leached out with boiling distilled water. After three days, pure alcohol is added in order to extract the alcohol-soluble aromatic substances. After about 20 days the decoction has a strength of about 70%.