The product of a historic Italian wine-making dynasty, Cardamaro is an aperitif made with wine, infused with artichoke-related plants, and aged in oak barrels. The result is a sweet and earthy drink with a light mouth feel.
Cardamaro has been likened to an herby version of vermouth. You can sip it chilled or combine it with other spirits and infusions to make a rich and complex cocktail.
Below, I’ve listed the best Cardamaro cocktails for you to make at home or try at your favorite cocktail bar. Try out these cocktails made with Cardamara and tell us your favorite in the comments!
Cardamaro mixes with yet another bitter liqueur to create this floral and smokey tequila cocktail. Dreams of Alebrijes combines the herby Suze and Cardamaro with sweet rose syrup and sour acid for an imaginative cocktail, unlike anything you’ve ever tasted.
The most interesting ingredient is aquafaba, giving Dreams of Alebrijes a frothiness akin to a foamy pisco sour. I found making this drink as fun as drinking it.
As floral and exotic as it sounds, The Petal Pusher is a bright and bubbly spritz featuring prosecco, St. Germain, Cardamaro, and cacao liqueur. The Petal Pusher originated in a popular New York eatery called Il Florista.
This cocktail has a deep richness from the chocolate liqueur balanced by the lightness of prosecco and the bitterness of the two aperitifs.
A quick and easy three-ingredient cocktail, The Corduroy consists of Cardamaro, rye, and orange bitters. Rye whiskey is a delightfully warm and smokey spirit that works well with the gentle, sweet bitterness of Cardamaro and the citrus burst from the orange bitters
I think The Corduroy is perfect in its simplicity. It’s also an easy recipe to multiply for large parties.
Perhaps alluding to the smokey bourbon and scotch foundation, Holy Smokes adds bold, bitter, and botanical flavors to the mix. The Cardamaro and Benedictine add a delicate floral sweetness, while the chocolate bitters add depth.
While the ingredients may be obscure, Holy Smokes is a user-friendly cocktail that anyone can throw together.
A true aperitivo cocktail, The Suspender Cocktail uses three Italian aperitifs with a splash of white balsamic vinegar for a refreshing and user-friendly cocktail. Cardamaro, vermouth, and the deep red Cappelletti bitter provide equal amounts of sweet, dry, and floral.
Because all ingredients are wine-based aperitifs, The Suspender cocktail has a low alcohol content. I order this beverage before a meal when I know I’m the designated driver!
Another super-herbaceous cocktail, Brother James is a dry gin cocktail with sweet vermouth, Cardamaro, and celery bitters.
The juniper and cardoon flavors from the gin and Cardamaro are earthy enough, but the celery bitters add an even stronger botanical kick. The sweetness of the vermouth and Cardamaro tamper the bitterness, but this is still a very dry and bold cocktail in my opinion.
A delightful spring or summertime drink, The Cardamaro Smash is a sweet and sour cocktail with peach liqueur, Cardamaro, demerara syrup, and muddled lemon. The sweetness of the peach liqueur and sourness of the lemon get a nice spicey herbaceous finish from the Cardamaro.
I use the mint garnish to add a refreshing aroma that brightens this cheerful cocktail up even more.
Named for the deep purple grape puree that provides a beautiful color, Cardamaro Concord is a bourbon and Cardamaro cocktail. The splash of concord grape puree and simple syrup combine with the smokey whiskey and floral Cardamaro for a taste of fall.
The homemade concord grape puree may be labor-intensive, but it’s worth the effort!
As evidenced by the diversity of spirits in all the recipes I provide above, Cardamaro has an elegant complexity that pairs well with many types of alcohol.