Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

Vermouth


  • Please log in to reply
246 replies to this topic

#31 The Hersch

The Hersch
  • participating member
  • 245 posts

Posted 28 July 2005 - 02:09 PM

As well as I can recall, bottles of Noilly Pratt say "Product of France" on the side.

Yes. Actually, they say both "Product of France" AND "Produit de France" on the bottle. But thanks to all who have weighed in. So there's a "regular" and a "super-duper" NP in France? I'll have to check that out next time I'm over there. I don't know if I'd be up for using up my alcohol allowance bringing vermouth back, though.

As to Vya, if it really tastes strongly of cassia, I'm pretty sure I won't like it, although I'll keep an open mind until I finally taste it.

#32 mbanu

mbanu
  • participating member
  • 273 posts
  • Location:Olympia, WA

Posted 28 July 2005 - 03:17 PM

Anyway, if the French are screwing us by sending watered down vermouth, stick it to them, and buy American.

View Post


Most of the famous vermouth manufacturers nowadays seem to be relying more on their 200 year old reputations, low low prices, and the fact that they are used by the dash in mixed drinks more than anything good about their products.

Martini at least is becoming more honest about how their vermouth is made. They're still talking about it in a round about way, but if I understand correctly, Martini & Rossi is now made as a compound vermouth, made by adding extracts to filtered wine sweetened with sugar and fortified with neutral spirits, which is then combined, chill-filtered, and bottled.

Noilly Pratt seems to imply that its production methods are different, which makes the fact that it is no better slightly mystifying.

They start with a blend of two wines, a flabby, high alcohol one that madierizes quickly, and a tart, thin one which if blended properly into the former, and aged correctly, produces a relatively neutral, high-alcohol madierized wine. It is then fortified and sweetened with mistelle, and raspberry and lemon flavoring extracts are added to bolster the wine a bit. Then, supposedly real botanicals are macerated in the wine for three weeks (although "botanicals" seems to be a very all-encompassing word, as caramel is added to their sweet vermouth somewhere along the line), then the botanicals are filtered out, the wine is rested, chill filtered, and bottled.

Besides a little cheating with the raspberry and lemon flavorings, all seems quite reasonable. I *want* to like Noilly Pratt vermouth, but for some reason they're making it very difficult for me to do so. Every couple of months or so after the last wretched bottle, I'll buy another, hoping the last 1, 3, 5 bottles have been flukes. So far I've been terribly disappointed.

#33 Splificator

Splificator
  • participating member
  • 527 posts
  • Location:Brooklyn

Posted 29 July 2005 - 07:20 AM

Call me a dope, but I actually like both Noilly Prat (white, of course) and Martini and Rossi (red). In fact, I prefer them both to their Vya equivalents for everyday use, which I define as in Martinis and Manhattans. I like the way the NP's dry nuttiness blends with gin without dominating it, even when mixed in equal parts (my favorite Martini these days--don't forget the dash of orange bitters). Similarly, the M&R's rounded sweetness mixes well with rye without masking it (I like 2 parts rye to slightly less than 1 part vermouth, with Angostura bitters or, for special occasions, Abbott's bitters).

Drunk on their own, I agree completely that neither is anything special; I'll take the Vya white or the Carpano red any day. But seeing as I probably drink 50 Martinis or Manhattans for every straight aperitif I'll have, it's almost a moot point for me.
aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

#34 slkinsey

slkinsey
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 11,108 posts
  • Location:New York, New York

Posted 29 July 2005 - 07:29 AM

I like Noilly Prat, too. Although I think I slightly prefer Cinzano over M&R for the sweet/red style. I especially like that they're inexpensive enough to have around for guilt-free cooking purposes. The Vya products, which I love, have so much more flavor than the usual vermouths on the market that you really do have to scale the recipe accordingly. Whereas you get a good balance of gin flavor to vermouth flavor in a 1:1 Tanqueray-to-Noilly Prat Martini, I might go more 2:1 or 5:2 for a similar effect with Vya.

Do we consider Punt e Mes a vermouth? It's kind of right there between vermouth and amaro. Anyway, I've really been liking a Brooklyn-inspired cocktail they make at Milk & Honey called the Red Hook, made with rye, maraschino and Punt e Mes.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#35 Splificator

Splificator
  • participating member
  • 527 posts
  • Location:Brooklyn

Posted 29 July 2005 - 07:36 AM

I actually prefer the Cinzano with bourbon Manhattans and the M&R with rye--the Cinzano has an extra spiciness that tweaks the bourbon up to a little more life.

And I also like the Boissiere dry vermouth quite a bit; the one I really dislike is the M&R, which is increasingly more common.

Off to the country now, where I will be drinking...well, i'll have to see what I can find in rural Pennsylvania. Beer.
aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

#36 birder53

birder53
  • participating member
  • 751 posts
  • Location:Santa Fe, NM

Posted 29 July 2005 - 10:54 AM

Anyway, I've really been liking a Brooklyn-inspired cocktail they make at Milk & Honey called the Red Hook, made with rye, maraschino and Punt e Mes.

View Post


That sounds wonderful! Can you share a recipe? How do you think it would work with bourbon?
KathyM

#37 Libationgoddess

Libationgoddess
  • participating member
  • 116 posts

Posted 30 July 2005 - 12:26 AM

I know just how much you're enjoying this one, Sam; it's been a favorite of mine for a couple of years now. I'm a very big fan of Enzo's; I think he's one of the best bartenders out there...a real artist:

Red Hook (By Enzo Errico)
½ oz. Punt e Mes
½ oz. Maraschino
2 oz. Rye
Stir / strain / up
Glass: Small Cocktail

Also, next time you're in there, ask him to make you an Enzoni.... :wub:

Audrey

#38 FoodMan

FoodMan
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 4,316 posts

Posted 01 August 2005 - 01:28 PM

I have to admit, I rarely venture into this part of the forums. That is a little odd since I enjoy my drink and I have a modest bar in one corner of my house that I visit a couple of times a week. Anyways, everytime I actually do check these pages out I learn something new or I am inspired to try something new (recently I learned about that cucumber flavored Gin, what's it called?...:smile:).
Now this amazing thread! I had no idea how nuanced Vermouth can be. Like most, I use it for martinis and for cooking, usually it is N. Prat. After reading this thread I learned that I should keep this beverage in the fridge! Now, both the dry and the red ones are in my refrigerator. I also got inspired to use my vermouth and I had some nice sweet fresh white peaches on hand. So, a quick chop and a blend in the blender with some vanilla sugar resulted in a smooth great tasting puree. I put some of it in a glass, added crushed ice, a few ounces of vermouth and about 1/4 of that Grey Goose. Stir and serve. It was pretty damn good.

Are there any rules of thumb as to what beverages should be refrigerated Vs. not? Maybe this is a topic for another thread...


Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com


#39 Quinapalus

Quinapalus
  • participating member
  • 15 posts
  • Location:San Francisco Bay Area

Posted 12 August 2005 - 12:59 PM

Dang, I was looking forward to weighing in, then everyone else said everything I was going to. Boissiere is the best dry vermouth I've tried, but NP is the best one I can get in half bottles, so it's the one I buy, because it turns before I can finish it. I have Vya sweet but haven't had occasion to get the dry yet, though you can bet I'm going to now. In my experience dry isn't good for more than a month or two, even refrigerated, but I've never noticed sweet turning bad at all.

--
Ben

#40 The Hersch

The Hersch
  • participating member
  • 245 posts

Posted 15 August 2005 - 11:25 AM

I only rarely have multiple brands of vermouth on hand simultaneously, but last night I found myself with Noilly Prat, Boissiere, and Gallo (all dry, white). I bought the Boissiere the other day, prompted by some of the praise it's received here lately. I used to buy it all the time, and didn't really remember why I switched to Noilly Prat as my standard brand. So anyway, I did a side-by-side taste comparison (not blind), and here's my opinion: Boissiere has more botanical character than Noilly Prat, but it's also much sweeter. It was, indeed, easily the sweetest of the three. Gallo has the least botanical accents (hardly any, really, compared with Boissiere), but a clean, fresh, straightforward style that I think makes it very well suited to cooking, and the price is certainly right. Noilly Prat is more subdued in the botanical department than Boissiere, but, again, much drier. And it does have some nice floral notes. I think it will remain my preferred vermouth for Martinis, at least until I try Vya.

#41 Tengrain

Tengrain
  • participating member
  • 12 posts

Posted 22 August 2005 - 03:30 PM

No point of using it if you only use a few drops at a time, my friend.  I think you'll find, however, that a Martini is much better in the 4:1 to 6:1 range (I'll even go 3:1 with a good vermouth and a flavorful gin).

View Post

My preference is about 5:1 or 6:1. After that, I can't really notice the taste...and I do like the flavor the vermouth imparts.

View Post

I do 5:1, Bombay to Pratt, and no one has ever complained.

#42 eje

eje
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 4,359 posts
  • Location:San Francisco, CA

Posted 03 February 2006 - 09:57 AM

There was a bit of a discussion of vermouths in the Rye thread which reminded me, of something I've been meaning to ask, does anyone know if the Duckhorn King Eider vermouth is still made?

I will drop the folks at Duckhorn a note and see what I can find out.

RE: Vya dry

Probably up to a 1:1 Plymouth/Noilly Martini would still be recognized as a Plymouth Martini.

With the Vya, I find, if you aren't careful, a Martini made with it, very quickly becomes a Vya Martini instead of a gin Martini.

Edited by eje, 03 February 2006 - 09:58 AM.

---
Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#43 slkinsey

slkinsey
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 11,108 posts
  • Location:New York, New York

Posted 03 February 2006 - 10:11 AM

. . . does anyone know if the Duckhorn King Eider vermouth is still made?

Last information I had, the answer was "no."

RE:  Vya dry

Probably up to a 1:1 Plymouth/Noilly Martini would still be recognized as a Plymouth Martini.

With the Vya, I find, if you aren't careful, a Martini made with it, very quickly becomes a Vya Martini instead of a gin Martini.

Vya is so strongly flavored that it usually doesn't work so well at 1:1. You're right that is would come out as a Vya Martini. I've made a 1:1 Martini with Vya and Malacca that worked pretty well, but Malacca is a very strongly flavored gin and even then I would have wanted a little bit more gin to come through. At 1:1 Vya would completely obscure something soft like Plymouth. 2:1 would probably be the way to go.

On the other hand, reverse Martinis at 1:2 with Vya and something like Tanqueray work great.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#44 eje

eje
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 4,359 posts
  • Location:San Francisco, CA

Posted 05 March 2006 - 04:55 PM

. . . does anyone know if the Duckhorn King Eider vermouth is still made?

Last information I had, the answer was "no."

View Post

I did hear back from a Duckhorn representative confirming they no longer make King Eider vermouth.

However, I can't quite believe my luck. I visited a new grocery store this afternoon for the first time and what dusty bottle did I spy on the shelf?

Posted Image

Edited by eje, 05 March 2006 - 04:55 PM.

---
Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#45 Kent Wang

Kent Wang
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 2,390 posts
  • Location:London

Posted 02 April 2006 - 05:54 AM

Vya ($20) is considerably more expensive than Boissere ($6). Do you think the difference is justified?

#46 mbanu

mbanu
  • participating member
  • 273 posts
  • Location:Olympia, WA

Posted 03 April 2006 - 12:01 PM

Vya ($20) is considerably more expensive than Boissere ($6). Do you think the difference is justified?

View Post


With the sweet Vya, yes.

Edited by mbanu, 03 April 2006 - 12:03 PM.


#47 eje

eje
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 4,359 posts
  • Location:San Francisco, CA

Posted 04 April 2006 - 11:13 AM

I haven't had Boissiere vermouth and have only had the dry Vya so far, so really can't compare that specific example.

I think the dry is more interesting enough than Noilly Pratt to justify its purchase if you are really into Martinis or are running a high end drinking establishment. On the other hand, it's different enough from the stock dry vermouths, that I don't think it can really be subbed in to any old cocktail that calls for white vermouth and produce predictable results. I expect a perfect Vya manhattan would be quite different from a perfect Noilly manhattan, for better or worse.
---
Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#48 Quinapalus

Quinapalus
  • participating member
  • 15 posts
  • Location:San Francisco Bay Area

Posted 12 April 2006 - 11:16 PM

Vya ($20) is considerably more expensive than Boissere ($6). Do you think the difference is justified?

View Post


Vya is so good you really should try it for yourself and decide whether it's worth the premium. Me, I'd get the Vya (even though, like I said upthread, I like Boissiere a lot) because for whatever reason I don't mind paying a premium on things I go through relatively slowly.

The dry, that is. Haven't had the sweet Boissiere.

--
Ben

#49 Kent Wang

Kent Wang
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 2,390 posts
  • Location:London

Posted 05 June 2006 - 01:46 PM

I just did a side-by-side with Boissiere Dry and Noilly Prat Dry. Noilly has a clean, sharp, somewhat citrus-like taste while Boissiere has a full-on herbal body with a peppery finish. I prefer Boissiere, especially for martinis. Too bad I have to go to Houston to buy it.

In a pinch, one can substitute dry vermouth with white wine and bitters, right? Someone left a huge bottle of Monkey Bay (or some other macro brand) chardonnay at my house and I've been experimenting with using that with Angostura.

#50 Carolyn Tillie

Carolyn Tillie
  • participating member
  • 4,642 posts
  • Location:San Francisco and Napa

Posted 05 June 2006 - 02:03 PM

I was hanging out with the Quady winemaker a few weeks ago (drinking Absinthe, actually!). Quady is the maker of Vya and one of their selling techniques is a shot of sweet and a shot of dry Vya, shaken, served with a twist of grapefruit. They call it a French Kiss and I found it quite delightful (bringing home several bottles....)

#51 Kent Wang

Kent Wang
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 2,390 posts
  • Location:London

Posted 12 September 2006 - 09:17 PM

I did a side-by-side with Vya sweet and Martini & Rossi. The Vya is overwhelmingly sweet while the M&R has more of a herbal character. M&R is the winner for me, regardless of cost.

#52 MissMeglet

MissMeglet
  • participating member
  • 7 posts
  • Location:Brisbane, Australia

Posted 13 September 2006 - 12:48 AM

eeek! I am so new to the world of cocktail making...I have vodka and gin in the fridge..and vermouth on the drinks table..what should be in the fridge? ..should it be the spirits or the "mixers"? I use cinzano vermouth extra dry..AND HAVE NEVER NOTICED...any other stuff like Noilly Prat etc. in my "botttle shop.

Edited by MissMeglet, 13 September 2006 - 07:39 PM.


#53 cdh

cdh
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 2,214 posts
  • Location:Philadelphia area

Posted 13 September 2006 - 05:28 AM

I did a side-by-side with Vya sweet and Martini & Rossi. The Vya is overwhelmingly sweet while the M&R has more of a herbal character. M&R is the winner for me, regardless of cost.

View Post


Gahhh :raz: M&R is my absolute least favorite sweet vermouth. I find it has a really unpleasant mustiness to it that even shines through when it is mixed with things like bourbon... I'd use Cinzano, Noilly sweet or Stock before M&R.
Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

----- De Gustibus Non Disputandum Est

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

#54 mkayahara

mkayahara
  • participating member
  • 1,847 posts
  • Location:Guelph, Ontario

Posted 13 September 2006 - 08:41 AM

eeek!  I am so new...I have vodka and gin in the fridge..and vermouth on the drinks table (i live in australia)..what should be in the fridge?  I'm new to cocktails..should it be the spirits or the "mixers"?  I use cinzano vermouth extra dry..AND HAVE NEVER NOTICED...other stuff like Noilly Prat etc. in my "botttle shop....help! I love my daily martini!

View Post


Hi there! Welcome to eGullet. I'm pretty new here myself, but my understanding is that you should keep the vermouth in the fridge and the vodka/gin at room temperature. If you chill the spirits, you don't get the right amount of dilution in the drink. (See this essay for more on proper chilling and dilution.) If you leave the vermouth at room temperature, it apparently degrades over time, though there seems to be some debate on that.

I just picked up my first bottle of Noilly Prat, as I'm just starting to explore dry vermouth. (I used to be one of those "wave the gin in the general direction of the vermouth" martini people.) I was most surprised by the colour, because it seems to be almost perfectly colourless; I was expecting a light yellow colour like a pale white wine. But it sure is tasty!
Matthew Kayahara
Kayahara.ca
@mtkayahara

#55 Kent Wang

Kent Wang
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 2,390 posts
  • Location:London

Posted 13 September 2006 - 01:34 PM

Gahhh  :raz:  M&R is my absolute least favorite sweet vermouth.  I find it has a really unpleasant mustiness to it that even shines through when it is mixed with things like bourbon... I'd use Cinzano, Noilly sweet or Stock before M&R.

View Post

I should add that this is only Vya vs M&R. Haven't done a side-by-side with any of the others yet.

On another note, is tasting vermouth by itself a worthwhile test of how it would combine in a cocktail? Maybe I should be tasting Manhattans instead.

#56 johnder

johnder
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 1,340 posts
  • Location:Brooklyn, NY

Posted 13 September 2006 - 01:45 PM

You can always made some addington cocktails.

1/2 sweet vermouth
1/2 dry vermouth
topped with soda water.

or a vermouth cocktail -- same as above but remove soda, add bitters.

John
John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2
--
I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

#57 Martin Doudoroff

Martin Doudoroff
  • participating member
  • 16 posts
  • Location:Baltimore

Posted 15 September 2006 - 08:23 AM

I've done side-by-side taste tests from previously-unopened bottles of every major sweet, dry and bianco vermouth available in the U.S. Some of the impressions I'm hearing in this thread strike me as dubious.

Generally speaking, it's fair to say that the Italians make lousy French-style vermouth (dry), and the French make lousy Italian-style vermouth (rosso and bianco, both sweet). The only exception I've found is Cinzano, which makes solid vermouths in all three styles. Martini also makes reliable rosso and bianco vermouth. Noilly Prat and Boissierre make reliable French vermouth. These are all inexpensive workaday products for mixology and cooking (in the French cases), and are certainly distinct from each other, but they're all similar "quality". We don't get Carpano's entry-level vermouths in the USA, but we do get their Punt e Mes and Antica Formula, both of which are extraordinary, significantly different from the more typical products, and suitable for drinking straight, in addition to applications in mixology. The two Vya vermouths from California are also extraordinary and I cannot recommend them enough for mixology or drinking straight (certainly neither are "overwhelmingly sweet" by any reasonable standard).

The main warning I have about vermouths is that they are relatively low proof and they oxidize unbelievably quickly. They don't exactly "go bad" but their character, particularly the nose, changes within minutes after opening a bottle for the first time. You can test this easily enough by picking up two identical small bottles of vermouth, opening one and decanting some, sealing it again, waiting half an hour, then opening both bottles and tasting samples from each. (This may account for the "mustiness" comment I spied earlier in the thread.) Different brands may change at different speeds and in different ways: I haven't tested them all in that regard. The best practice is to buy the smallest bottles you can and not let them sit around.

#58 johnder

johnder
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 1,340 posts
  • Location:Brooklyn, NY

Posted 15 September 2006 - 09:29 AM

When I was at Gramercy Tavern last week Jim Meehan made me an awesome cocktail he came up with called the Van Brunt. It was a Rye based cocktail that included Cappellano Chinato. I never heard or ot tasted the Chinato before and it was amazingly complex. It added a whole new level to the drink perfectly complementing the Michters rye that was used. It is an expensive purchase ~$80 per bottle retail

A quote from Lenell's website describes it:

Cappellano Chinato  - Teopoldo Cappellano's family has been producing wine in the Barolo zone since 1870. The vineyards are farmed biodynamically. Giuseppe Cappellano, a pharmacist in Serralunga d'Alba, undertook the creation of an efficient digestive. His love of fine Barolo was reinforced by his belief in the wine's therapeutic properties when drunk well aged, and so he began his research with this great wine. Starting with an alcohol infusion of quinine bark ("china"), he added numerous herbs and spices such as clove, wormwood and cinnamon; this was blended with Barolo slightly sweetened with cane sugar. ....


John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2
--
I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

#59 slobhan

slobhan
  • participating member
  • 38 posts
  • Location:Portland, OR

Posted 21 September 2006 - 10:28 AM

eeek!  I am so new to the world of cocktail making...I have vodka and gin in the fridge..and vermouth on the drinks table..what should be in the fridge? ..should it be the spirits or the "mixers"?  I use cinzano vermouth extra dry..AND HAVE NEVER NOTICED...any other stuff like Noilly Prat etc. in my "botttle shop.

View Post


Hi Miss Meglet!

I'm learning about cocktails all the time too, and I even work at a drinks magazine! The current Sep/Oct issue of Imbibe now on newsstands covers Vermouth and its origins, brands, storage, and even recipes. Page 26, Elements.

I do know I'm going to have to check out some Nolly Prat!

- Siobhan
my motto: taste, savor, share
circulation manager, imbibe magazine
celebrate the world in a glass

#60 Mayur

Mayur
  • participating member
  • 590 posts

Posted 21 September 2006 - 10:55 AM

I did a side-by-side with Vya sweet and Martini & Rossi. The Vya is overwhelmingly sweet while the M&R has more of a herbal character. M&R is the winner for me, regardless of cost.

View Post


Gahhh :raz: M&R is my absolute least favorite sweet vermouth. I find it has a really unpleasant mustiness to it that even shines through when it is mixed with things like bourbon... I'd use Cinzano, Noilly sweet or Stock before M&R.

View Post

Agreed (although cdh is an old drinking buddy of mine, so perhaps our tastes have converged). M&R ruins any drink it's put in for me.

(Speaking of: y'know, chris, you can always just drink the Vya at my place for free... :) )

I'm not a fan of the Vya dry for mixing; too much cassia and lavender for my tastes. That said, I'm off martinis anyway, so my dry vermouth usage has dropped significantly. I'd go with the Boissiere (1) or the Noilly Prat (2) for mixing.

As to sweets: IMHO, they vary so much in character that I have a hard time recommending one. For whiskey-, brandy-, or dark rum-based cocktails, the Carpano A.F. is my favorite, but it is a highly aromatic-spiced rendition (the bitterness is something I just like in my vermouths, period; I don't like the Vya sweet for that reason). Otherwise, I like the cinzano or noilly sweets.
Mayur Subbarao, aka "Mayur"