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New Noilly Prat


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#31 eas

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 01:36 PM

Just look for the shapely new bottle and you'll have the new (to us) product. As for the change in title, it may reflect the change from what we would associate with a French Dry Vermouth to what is unique to Noilly Prat.

Edited by eas, 19 January 2009 - 01:37 PM.


#32 bostonapothecary

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 10:34 AM

Just look for the shapely new bottle and you'll have the new (to us) product.  As for the change in title, it may reflect the change from what we would associate with a French Dry Vermouth to what is unique to Noilly Prat.

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so i emailed Ludovic Miazga who is the noilly prat brand ambassador quite a while ago about the differences between the american noilly and the european version...

The main differences in the original and American blends are the aging and the taste.
The aging of the original blend is for over two years; one of those years is outdoors, whereas the American blend is aged indoors only for a little over one year.
Therfore due to the aging process the original blend develops a richer and more complex taste.


he also notes that the "L'Enclos" outdoor aging method is meant to replicate the products early sea journey (like in madeira) that noilly rarely gets any credit for...

Edited by bostonapothecary, 22 January 2009 - 10:35 AM.

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#33 TAPrice

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 01:32 PM

Just look for the shapely new bottle and you'll have the new (to us) product.  As for the change in title, it may reflect the change from what we would associate with a French Dry Vermouth to what is unique to Noilly Prat.

View Post


so i emailed Ludovic Miazga who is the noilly prat brand ambassador quite a while ago about the differences between the american noilly and the european version...

The main differences in the original and American blends are the aging and the taste.
The aging of the original blend is for over two years; one of those years is outdoors, whereas the American blend is aged indoors only for a little over one year.
Therfore due to the aging process the original blend develops a richer and more complex taste.


he also notes that the "L'Enclos" outdoor aging method is meant to replicate the products early sea journey (like in madeira) that noilly rarely gets any credit for...

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Well, if that only changed the taste... :laugh:
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#34 slkinsey

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 02:53 PM

It's not clear to me that the rep is being entirely forthright. My recollection is that the new NP is definitely more up front with the herbs.
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#35 bostonapothecary

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 11:12 PM

It's not clear to me that the rep is being entirely forthright.  My recollection is that the new NP is definitely more up front with the herbs.

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it wouldn't surprise me. i asked lots of specific questions and only got a few cut and paste answers. there are only a couple worth while ambassadors out there for big brands. alcohol sales really rely on pretention, mystery, and supersticion. if consumers are too well educated too much sales can be lost to wellers, overholt, cruzan, and gordons...
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#36 eje

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 11:34 PM

Not sure how easy it is to see the color of this drink, but this is a fitty-fitty made with the new (to us in the US) Noilly.

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#37 Reignking

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 11:51 AM

I thought I'd add this clarification, from a martini article in the Washington Post.
http://www.washingto...20302812&s_pos=

And there have been big recent developments in the world of vermouth. For one, the gold-standard dry vermouth Noilly Prat has a new recipe. Actually, the company has gone back to selling its original European recipe here; the Noilly Prat we enjoyed for years was a special recipe for Americans. I like the European-style Noilly Prat, which is more viscous and has more-pronounced floral and citrus notes. But of course this change has been a lightning rod for criticism. The conservative Wall Street Journal actually called the new-recipe Noilly Prat "evil" and a "fussy impostor" and termed a martini made with it "a mess." I completely disagree; it's just more of that Very Dry Martini bullying.

Edited by Reignking, 04 February 2009 - 11:51 AM.


#38 tim g

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 04:09 AM

that's interesting that they say dolin is one of the premier vermouths in the usa, here in london it's abt 2/3 the price of noilly prat at my local supermarket

#39 shantytownbrown

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 08:19 PM

did i hear correct that Noilly is doing away with this "U.S" version and bringing back the original as of this week??

anyone verify?

#40 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 11:11 PM

did i hear correct that Noilly is doing away with this "U.S" version and bringing back the original as of this week??

anyone verify?

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As the above info hints at and a visit to liquor stores confirms, it has actually already begun.
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#41 shantytownbrown

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 02:54 AM

did i hear correct that Noilly is doing away with this "U.S" version and bringing back the original as of this week??

anyone verify?

View Post


As the above info hints at and a visit to liquor stores confirms, it has actually already begun.

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i have to apologize, i completely missed Reinking's post...

#42 Mike S.

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 10:58 PM

I just tried the new-to-us NP Dry for the first time tonight.

First taste neat, in a small tasting glass. Much sweeter than the "old" U.S. formula, and as noted above much more floral and herbal, but not necessarily bad to my palate, in fact pretty damn good actually, just...different.

Second taste in a 5:1 Martini made with (my new favorite) Whitley Neill Small Batch London Dry Gin and a goodly dash of Regans' No. 6, stirred up with a lemon twist. Not bad, maybe even good, but again...(very) different. Truth be told, although I like them Martinis have never been my drink of choice so I'm probably not the best person to say whether the old or new is the better vermouth for this drink. I rather liked it, but I can definitely see why the stalwarts are up in arms.

Third taste poured over ice in a wine glass with a lemon slice as an alternative to plain white wine with my linguini and white clam sauce (itself made with a healthy splash of the stuff). Umm...brilliant! I really love it this way, better by far than my previous favorite white aperitif Lillet Blanc. Less sweet, more complex, spicier, just great. In fact, it's so good as a Lillet "stand-in" that I wonder if it wouldn't work as a replacement for Lillet in classic cocktails that call for the old Kina Lillet (although admittedly there's no quinine bite to the new NP), perhaps with a dash of orange bitters?

So my bottom line is this: It's a very good, maybe even great, product that is nonetheless profoundly different from the "old" NP Dry we've all come to know and love (or not). It's definitely earned a place in my bar and I suspect I'll be drinking it quite a lot -- no joke, it is REALLY good over ice with a slice of lemon. For those rare times I drink a dry Martini...well...maybe I'll use something else, or break into my back stock of the old stuff.

Edited by Mike S., 20 February 2009 - 11:02 PM.

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#43 MaxH

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 03:47 AM

Thanks Mike for the detailed taste comparison. This kind of first-person report is valuable.

Couple detail followups from earlier in the thread, in case anyone's interested:

... After the wines are blended, NP's site says that they add raspberry and lemon fruit liqueurs (!) ...

Probably most people reading this know the following but in case anyone doesn't: The word "liqueur" has two parallel meanings in English (and French) writing. (I have many examples.) Often it means a sweet or sugared flavored spirit. In more general writing it's also used in the wider sense of a flavored spirit, not necessarily sweetened. (Some of the related content on Wikipedia, for example, still appears not to know about this.)


[In discussion of perceived sweetness in old vs new NP] if enough people are curious enough and want to know exactly what the sugar contents are of the new and the old i could be motivated to perform a little experiment and find out...

A generous offer! Again in case any reader was unaware of it: actual sugar content in wines and perceived sweetness correlate only loosely. Common non-sugar components also taste sweet (polyols or sugar alcohols) on top of which, acid in wine skews perceived sweetness so much that blind tests can't distinguish relative sugar levels at all. (The orange vs lemon syndrome.)

#44 eas

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 08:14 AM

No question it's sweeter. I ran the brix on most all dry vermouth a few months ago (and can post results once I pull the file), and while the old US Noilly and other dry vermouths hold an almost uniform 3% sugar, the traditional Marseilles (aka new) is 4%, a 1/3 more, but still not as sweet as the Blanc and Rosso styles.

Something lost in the discussion, and unfortunately in the promotion to date of this NP, is it's heritage as the Marseilles style of vermouth. This style was noted by it's presence of color (paille or doré - straw or gold), the wood from aging, and it's Madeira finish. Popular at the turn of the century, typically served in drinks with fruit syrups or used in cooking, many other French producers made this as well.

With growing popularity of cocktails in the 1920s, the preponderance of leading French vermouth producers (Richard, Mermet, Dolin, Reynaud, Boissieres, Comoz) saw tremendous growth in sales in the dry offering of their hallmark clear vermouth. Blanc then meant clear, and you'd see sweet and dry versions on offer. Most of these producers ceased production of a Marseilles style vermouth by the 1930's.

While today the NP sells very well in France for kitchen use, it's unique flavor characteristics deserve exploration both at the bar and kitchen.

#45 MaxH

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 02:50 PM

No question it's sweeter.  I ran the brix on most all dry vermouth a few months ago (and can post results once I pull the file...

That's useful research -- thanks!

Not to belabor the point, but be careful about casually equating perceived sweetness to sugar content, which ignores other dissolved components that increase or decrease perceived sweetness. (Thus orange juice can taste "sweeter" than lemon juice even when the lemon has a higher sugar concentration.) The ultimate objective measure of "sweetness" uses taster data (slk, Spificator, bostonapothecary, and especially Mike S posted informal data above).

Also if you literally mean Brix weight (the pragmatic measure estimating sugars via density), it's fairly accurate for sugars when used by winemakers for grape juice near harvest (whose dissolved components consist mainly of sugars, which therefore correlate well with density). I'm skeptical about using Brix measure with wine that's fermented, aged, blended, and fortified. Its dissolved components and density are much more complex.

This parallels the problem of fidelity measures in audio and video equipment. Ultimate objective tests require human evaluators running indifference tests under controlled conditions, which can be difficult and expensive. Simple electrical tests (Signal-to-Noise Ratio, Total Harmonic Distortion) correlate partly with perceived quality and are much easier, but can mislead. Consumers have been seduced by the scientific-looking authority of those numbers. Thankfully, nothing like that ever could happen with drinks! :-)

#46 TAPrice

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 04:22 PM

Finally got my hands on a bottle of the new stuff. Tasted straight, it's certainly sweeter. To be fair, my old bottle was cold (straight from the frig) and my new bottle was room temperature (straight from the grocery store). I'm curious to try them both cold.

Next step was a 3:1 martini with a dash orange bitters. I don't like it at that ratio, which I thought tasted good with the old formula. Guess I should try it with a higher ratio of gin or find a new vermouth.
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#47 Lan4Dawg

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 12:51 PM

I brought the new home several weeks ago--before I realized they were changing the formula--and mixed our usual martinis--Regular Bombay & NP dry about 5:1 w/ a generous splash of Regan's ernj bitters and a lemon twist. Fuss took one taste and said, "what happened to my martini?" I tasted and thought the same. Then I remembered reading some where (probably here) that NP was changing its formula so found a bottle of the old and we compared them side-by-side in several forms: neat, chilled, and in our basic martini. We much prefer the old version as we find the new formula is much sweeter and has a more floral characteristics (to the point that I am purchasing as much as I can find and now have two un-opened cases sitting in the garage--luckily our local distributor stocked up on the old formula before the new was introduced so I can find it here in NE GA if I look.) There was an article in the last issue of Imbibe magazine about the change. Interestingly enough there are a bunch of people who do not know there is a change and I was standing in a major liquor store in Atlanta when a woman came in and said she had driven over fr/ Birmingham b/c she heard they had the old formula and the folks at the store had no idea they were changing.
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#48 Chris Amirault

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 06:43 AM

I've been stocking up, too. This is one of the benefits to living in a town where few people drink vermouth: if they stocked NP, it probably didn't move.
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#49 TAPrice

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 07:04 AM

Can you really stockpile this? Won't it eventually go bad? Or will it be stable as long as it's unopened?
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#50 Chris Amirault

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 07:13 AM

I don't see why not. I imagine that over many years there would be some loss of quality, but there would also be a large number of excellent martinis, fitty fittys, and so on -- something I can't make to my tastes without this liquid.
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#51 slkinsey

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 07:27 AM

Again... if you want something that works more or less like the old US NP, seek out Dolin Dry.

I was chatting with Audrey Saunders a few nights ago, and among the million or so topics we usually cover when we're together, we touched on Noilly Prat. We agreed that the new product is a quality product with some interesting potential of its own. The problem is exactly what Phil mentions in the first post in the thread: What about the dozens of carefully-calibrated cocktails designed around the old US Noilly Prat? Those are all different now and, even if some of them work with the new formula, at the very least they all need to be recalibrated to account for the higher perceived richness, herbal character, etc. of the new product. This is a huge undertaking.

In the long run, it's nice to have another quality vermouth, and it's especially nice to have one in the Marseilles style. But, of course, it's really to bad to have lost what was an excellent product. Fortunately, Dolin is positioned to step into the breech.


Here are a few interesting questions: When did Noilly Prat begin exporting a special formula for the US? Looking at historical cocktail formulae with dry French vermouth, at what point would these have been made with a style similar to the old US version of NP? Also, if we're looking at a cocktail recipe calling for dry French vermouth that originated in Europe, wouldn't this cocktail have been made with a vermouth like the NP we're getting now?
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#52 db_campbell

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 07:53 AM

Also, if we're looking at a cocktail recipe calling for dry French vermouth that originated in Europe, wouldn't this cocktail have been made with a vermouth like the NP we're getting now?

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I suppose that would depend whether the creator had in mind the Chambery or Marseilles style.

#53 Splificator

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 08:02 AM

Here are a few interesting questions:  When did Noilly Prat begin exporting a special formula for the US?  Looking at historical cocktail formulae with dry French vermouth, at what point would these have been made with a style similar to the old US version of NP?  Also, if we're looking at a cocktail recipe calling for dry French vermouth that originated in Europe, wouldn't this cocktail have been made with a vermouth like the NP we're getting now?


This should help. Here's the text of a 1964 ad from my archives:

VERY VERY PALE
So pale that new Noilly Prat French Vermouth is virtually invisible in your gin or vodka. Extra pale and extra dry for today's correct Martini. DON'T STIR WITHOUT NOILLY PRAT."


So. Pre-1964 (note that "new"), what we're getting now, or at least something different from the "old" one we grew up with. I say that because for all I know there may have been an intermediate stage--or there may not have been.
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#54 bostonapothecary

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 10:17 AM

Here are a few interesting questions:  When did Noilly Prat begin exporting a special formula for the US?  Looking at historical cocktail formulae with dry French vermouth, at what point would these have been made with a style similar to the old US version of NP?  Also, if we're looking at a cocktail recipe calling for dry French vermouth that originated in Europe, wouldn't this cocktail have been made with a vermouth like the NP we're getting now?


This should help. Here's the text of a 1964 ad from my archives:

VERY VERY PALE
So pale that new Noilly Prat French Vermouth is virtually invisible in your gin or vodka. Extra pale and extra dry for today's correct Martini. DON'T STIR WITHOUT NOILLY PRAT."


So. Pre-1964 (note that "new"), what we're getting now, or at least something different from the "old" one we grew up with. I say that because for all I know there may have been an intermediate stage--or there may not have been.

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(all learned from amerines "annotated bibliography of vermouth")

this paler style was not just a noilly thing but a trend with everyone. early out the gates of WWII america was set to reclaim dominance in its vermouth market so there was tons of research on the subject. wisdom then said that you had to have a high quality, full bodied and flavorful wine base to produce a good dry vermouth. eventually the americans figured things out and tribuno dominated the domestic market. many said tribuno was the best in the world. (it was also 20% or so cheaper than the imports)

then in the early sixties articles from sources like the san fransisco wine institute said the europeans were changing their wine bases in favor of very neutral flavored wines. the americans followed suit and supposedly there was tons of different styles of dry on the market. a sources said that americans were very sensitive to color and tricks had to be used to remove it while the europeans were more tolerent.

another thing that happened concurrently was light whiskey becoming popular and new labeling guidelines to handle it... the sixties were bland times...
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#55 eas

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 01:15 PM

wisdom then said that you had to have a high quality, full bodied and flavorful wine base to produce a good dry vermouth.


Perhaps the US/domestic producers used full bodied and flavorful wines, but not so with the leading French vermouth producers. Their reliance on Ugni Blanc and Colombard date back to the phylloxera outbreak in the late 19th century. For both the dry and blanc styles, a light, neutral wine base was and is necessary to highlight the herbal, spice and fruit notes. For those producing a Marseilles style, cask selection and aging time/process also weighed in.

Edited by eas, 03 March 2009 - 01:19 PM.


#56 Lan4Dawg

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 10:22 PM

Again... if you want something that works more or less like the old US NP, seek out Dolin Dry.

I was chatting with Audrey Saunders a few nights ago, and among the million or so topics we usually cover when we're together, we touched on Noilly Prat.  We agreed that the new product is a quality product with some interesting potential of its own.  The problem is exactly what Phil mentions in the first post in the thread:  What about the dozens of carefully-calibrated cocktails designed around the old US Noilly Prat?  Those are all different now and, even if some of them work with the new formula, at the very least they all need to be recalibrated to account for the higher perceived richness, herbal character, etc. of the new product.  This is a huge undertaking.

In the long run, it's nice to have another quality vermouth, and it's especially nice to have one in the Marseilles style.  But, of course, it's really to bad to have lost what was an excellent product.  Fortunately, Dolin is positioned to step into the breech.


Here are a few interesting questions:  When did Noilly Prat begin exporting a special formula for the US?  Looking at historical cocktail formulae with dry French vermouth, at what point would these have been made with a style similar to the old US version of NP?  Also, if we're looking at a cocktail recipe calling for dry French vermouth that originated in Europe, wouldn't this cocktail have been made with a vermouth like the NP we're getting now?

View Post


who is the importer? I have not seen it in Georgia and if I know the importer perhaps I can call or e-mail them to see if they have a distributor here.
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#57 slkinsey

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Posted 04 March 2009 - 09:18 AM

The importer of Dolin is Haus Alpenz. I'm not sure who the distributor is.
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#58 MaxH

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Posted 04 March 2009 - 02:37 PM

Quoting here from a proximate thread (because it concerns old NP):

I've taken to stocking up on old formula Noilly Prat in 375s. I know it won't keep forever ... I've developed quite an affinity for a splash of it on the rocks with a twist, as well as vermouth heavy cocktails like the Bamboo.

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NP 375s keep very well in my experience (that's how I've normally bought it to have on hand). And again, dry French vermouth is handy as an herbed wine in old-fashioned cooking (like, chicken with a wine-cream sauce, pearl onions, mushrooms, serve over rice; or cold chaud-froid sauces). It was often specified in recipes, through about the 1960s.

Being old enough to remember the 1960s somewhat, I remember Vermouth was commonly ordered in US restaurants as an apéritif, then and somewhet later, compared to today. General US public also drank cocktails much more than wine then, which gradually shifted. Like cocktails, Vermouth seems to've been reborn.

#59 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 04 March 2009 - 04:08 PM

Quoting here from a proximate thread (because it concerns old NP):

I've taken to stocking up on old formula Noilly Prat in 375s. I know it won't keep forever ... I've developed quite an affinity for a splash of it on the rocks with a twist, as well as vermouth heavy cocktails like the Bamboo.

View Post

NP 375s keep very well in my experience (that's how I've normally bought it to have on hand). And again, dry French vermouth is handy as an herbed wine in old-fashioned cooking (like, chicken with a wine-cream sauce, pearl onions, mushrooms, serve over rice; or cold chaud-froid sauces). It was often specified in recipes, through about the 1960s.

Being old enough to remember the 1960s somewhat, I remember Vermouth was commonly ordered in US restaurants as an apéritif, then and somewhet later, compared to today. General US public also drank cocktails much more than wine then, which gradually shifted. Like cocktails, Vermouth seems to've been reborn.

View Post


I'm sure it'll be fine in the medium term, but I don't think I'll really want to explore what happens to Noilly Prat with ten years of bottle age.
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#60 Kent Wang

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Posted 04 March 2009 - 04:39 PM

Just so I'm clear, the older, American-only version is labeled "Original French Dry." The new (at least to the US market) formula and the one currently sold in France is labeled "Original Dry"?

Got to love that French logic.

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Both say "Original French Dry". The new bottle looks quite different, with the bottle itself having a twisting part, while the original is a plain bottle.