Vermouth is typically an aperitif. The first known branded vermouth was “Carpano” produced at Turin, Italy in 1786. This was a rich, sweet red style. Rosso, or red vermouth is traditionally made using red wine. Today however, virtually all red vermouth is produced using white wine and blended with caramel to receive its distinctive red or amber color. This dark, more richly flavored Italian variety is imperative in many cocktails, but can be drunk alone, with cassis or as an aperitif, or mixed with lemonade, tonic or orange juice.
A very popular brand in Italy is Cinzano.
Ingredients in the Cinzano Rosso include marjoram, thyme, musk yarrow and an alpine herb called ‘Achillea Moscata’.
Tasting note: Very dark tawny tone. Heady perfume speaks of overripe grapes, quinine and roots. Agile, tar-like in the mouth as flavors of quinine, citrus peel, roots and berries combine in a piquant twang that’s neither clumsy nor cloying. Finishes tasting of ripe oranges and pink grapefruit.
Classic Cocktail: The Manhattan
The Manhattan is a very old cocktail, most likely having been invented in the 1870’s at New York’s Manhattan Club from which it gets its name. It has the same sort of simplicity as a Martini, but with much more flavor. Originally, like most American Whiskey drinks prior to prohibition, this cocktail was made with Rye. Today, it is more commonly made with Bourbon, but only because there are a lot more Bourbon’s on the market then there are Rye’s.
The key to a good Manhattan is to create the right balance of all the flavors that go into it.
- 60ml (2 oz) Bourbon or Rye Whiskey
- 25ml (just a smidgen under 1 oz) Red/Rosso Vermouth
- 4 dashes Angostura Bitters
- Method: Pour the whiskey and vermouth into a cocktail shaker. Add bitters, plenty of ice cubes and shake. Strain into Martini glass. Note: Canadian Whiskey can be used as a substitute. – notes partially sourced from www.drinkboy.com