These homemade bitters from author and former Gramercy Tavern managing partner Nick Mautone, combine grapefruit with Campari, vodka, and vermouth for a sweet, tart, and very bitter concoction. Try it with sparkling wine in Nick’s Sparkling Campari Cocktail.

Game plan: These bitters will last up to 1 month when refrigerated in an airtight container.

This recipe was featured as part of our Bringing Bitters Back project.

  • Yield: About 1 quart
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 45 mins, plus infusion time
  • Active: 10 mins

Ingredients (6)

  • 1 medium grapefruit
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup Campari
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 3/4 cup sweet vermouth


  1. Halve the grapefruit. Juice one half, reserve the juice, and discard the rind. Coarsely chop the remaining half (pulp and rind) and reserve.
  2. Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves, and let syrup simmer until it thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Add chopped grapefruit and cook until the grapefruit releases all its juice, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
  3. Combine cooled grapefruit syrup (including chopped fruit), reserved grapefruit juice, Campari, vodka, and sweet vermouth in a large container with a tightfitting lid. Stir well, cover, and refrigerate at least 1 hour before using.