Campari-Basil Mojito

Campari + Basil Mojito

When I was a kid, my family would go camping on Lake Superior near Split Rock Lighthouse at the beginning of July. It was so much fun. My mom would make the most elaborate camping meals: lasagna, cheesecake, spaghetti & meatballs- we were quite spoiled. We would sit around the campfire, the four of us, enjoying the quiet mystery of the trees and the quirky yet comforting smell of smoke and bug spray. (There were lots of black flies and the Minnesota State Bird, mosquitoes, buzzing around at all hours so bug spray was a must!)

Sometimes, we would time the trip so that we could drive into Duluth to see the fireworks on the 4th of July. Surprisingly, I don’t remember much about the fireworks, but I remember the long line of cars we would sit in as we crawled out of the parking lot at a glacial pace. My sister and I would usually fall asleep in the backseat before we even made it to the main road.

When we lived in Japan, we always got our fireworks fix at the Obon Matsuri (read more about festivals in Japan here). The festivals were amazing with delicious food but the fireworks were spectacular. Like nothing I’ve ever seen. Here are a few photos of our last Obon festival:

Obon-Hanabi Hanabi-in-Tokyo Yukata-for-Obon-Matsuri

This year, we will be here in Denver and will stay close to home, grilling hamburgers and drinking cocktails in the backyard with our family. I’m not sure if fireworks will be a part of the festivities or not, but I do know this cocktail will be.

Campari Basil Mojito

And before you say anything, I know. It isn’t Friday. Today is Wednesday. I hope I didn’t cause anyone to think they missed the 4th of July or somehow, magically, made it to Friday without even noticing the days prior. Since many of you will be taking a vacation day on Friday and will likely be celebrating Independence Day if you’re here in the U.S. or just celebrating one of the first, true summer weekends elsewhere, I thought it would be appropriate to give you this cocktail recipe a little early.

Campari Cocktail Ideas

I found a recipe for a Campari mojito on Campari’s website. Then I got to thinking about what an insane amount of basil I already have so early in the summer, wondering if that would suffice in place of the mint. To make a long story short, I’ll make it with basil rather than mint every single time. The sweet, licorice flavor of the basil works beautifully with the bitter Campari. It also make a visually stunning cocktail perfect for serving at your 4th of July celebration. There’s even a little red, white and blue happening here with my glass. SCORE.

What are you up to for this holiday week? Any fabulous fireworks displays I need to hear about?

Campari Cocktail Recipe


Campari-Basil Mojito

Campari-Basil Mojito


  • 2 oz Campari
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 oz lime juice
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, loosely packed
  • Basil leaves for garnish


  1. In the bottom of a cocktail shaker or glass, add the brown sugar, lime juice and 1/4 cup basil leaves. Muddle together with a muddler or a spoon until the sugar has mostly dissolved into the lime juice and there is a nice basil scent released from the leaves.
  2. Add the Campari and stir well to combine.
  3. Fill a Collins glass or other glass with crushed ice.
  4. Pour the Campari-basil mixture over the ice and top with a splash of sparkling water. Serve with basil leaves for garnish.



03. July 2013 by Rachael White
Categories: Cocktails & Appetizers | Tags: , , , , | 5 comments

  • Ashley Bee

    Yum! Such a classy cocktail. I think I’ll be sticking to red wine tomorrow but maybe my parents will open up their liquor cabinet ;)

  • SunflowerSpruce

    That drink looks delicious! The fireworks are back on down here in Colorado Springs but we never go. Too many people, no where to park and it’s in a part of town I avoid if it’s dark and I had to be out walking—bummer.

    So Campari, is that a common liqueur one can find in any liquor store? I’ve never heard of it. Also, your basil plant, have you had issues getting it to grow here in Colorado. My plant keeps burning in the sun even though it calls for full sun….maybe it needs a tad bit of shade since we’re higher up in elevation. Don’t know.

    • Rachael White

      Sorry my response is so late here- I had a little bug problem with my comment plugin around the time I posted this and my replies didn’t show up. Anywho, yes, Campari is very common. You should be able to find it almost anywhere. My basil has been doing fine but if yours is burning, you may need to check to make sure you aren’t getting the leaves wet when the sun is shining on them. But you could be right about the elevation…

  • sippitysup

    Fireworks or no this cocktail lights up the holiday. GREG

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