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slkinsey

Vermouth

251 posts in this topic

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.

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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 (log)

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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.

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"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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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!

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

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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.

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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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

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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.

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.

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"

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Park Avenue Liquor (292 Madison Ave.) carries Vya in NYC, as well as all the others.

I've also gotten Boissiere at Astor Place. I use it a lot for deglazing.

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I typically use Martini & Rossi sweet and dry vermouth for my cocktails. I will also try Punt e Mes in cocktails calling for red vermouth to experiment with the taste.

Without locating and buying the different vermouths on the market, I was wondering what the different flavor profiles of the brands are and any personal recommendations.

Thanks

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my default sweet vermouth is the carpano antica formula, which i prefer to the m&r. it's a little more sweet and mellow than the punt e mes, and to my taste nothing (for the money) can beat a 2:1 rittenhouse:antica manhattan with a few dashes of hermes orange bitters. *drool*

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For what it's worth, I've gotten the impression while browsing through these forums that the default preferences for "everyday" vermouth were Noilly Prat for white and Cinzano for red. There are lots who prefer the more top-shelf products like Vya or Antica Formula, although these may require you to adjust your recipes. There are also a couple of defenders of M&R.

When I was running low on M&R Rosso, I did a taste test of it against the Cinzano (blind; I had my partner pour the glasses). I preferred the Cinzano, which seemed to be more complex and less cloying. For dry vermouth, I skipped the taste test, because I couldn't even bring myself to drink the M&R straight. In both cases, I'm willing to accept that the M&R may have been oxidized, as the open bottles had been around for a while.

Hope that helps!


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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Interesting to see this thread bumped. In the Drinks! thread, I just posted about my experiences making a Metropole. The version with the dry Vya was as repulsive a drink as I have had, while the Noilly Prat version is (I am savoring it now) delightful. The Vya was just clashing, while the NP is harmonious. I think I have successfully used the dry Vya dry elsewhere, (Martinez Cocktail Variation), but I honestly don't see a recurring place for it in my bar. I preferred M&R dry over Vya in my Algonquin's also.

On the other hand, the Vya sweet is lovely, and has had no conflicts. It will always be second choice to the Carpano Antica in my top shelf Manhattans and Red Hooks, but that's no slight. It is not as hard to find as the Antica, so while I am very sparing with the latter (ie for my gullet only), I have no problem in serving Vya sweet to company.

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...bringing back a thread to keep things on track

i need to spend more time with dubbonet rouge... when i worked the bar at the art museum we went through ton's of it... now i pour it less than once a month... probably in need of a revival... i wish i could participate in the revival of barolo chinato but alas you can't get that here... i'm really curious to its sugar content. i know the makers look for a minimalist embellishment to preserve some terrior...

i think i want an aromatized wine that tastes like leather with notes of orange...

or earthy and animalic to contrast tropical fruit flavors to carribeanesque drinks...

do any classic bittered wines match those descriptions that i've overlooked?


abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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re: Dubonnet Rouge

One interesting thing I've read regarding Dubonnet Rouge is that the Dubonnet we get in the US is made in Kentucky by Heaven Hill.

Apparently, in Canada and elsewhere, they get Dubbonet made in France. I've not tried the French Dubonnet myself; but, some folks have said that it is noticeably different from the Dubonnet we get here.

re: Barolo Chinato

To me it is nowhere near as sweet as most liqueur or most alcohol based Amaro. There are a number of brands, though, so there may be some variability.

The only one I've tried, Cocchi, seems somewhere around, or a little less sweet than, some of the Late Bottled Vintage or Ruby Ports I've tried.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I'm relatively new to cocktails. That in mind, I'm going to the liquor store this afternoon to get some Vya sweet and dry vermouth. How long can I expect it to stay tasty after it is opened? Should I vacuum seal it like I would regular wine and keep it in the fridge or will it be fine with the other liquors in the cabinet?

Thanks.

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Vacuum seal and keep it in the refrigerator. If you can, see if you can pick up the half-bottles instead of the full bottles.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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I've noticed lately that the flavour in my open bottles of vermouth has started to head south, so I think it's time to replace them. However, I feel really bad about simply dumping the remainder of the current bottles. Any suggestions on how to use them up? I frequently cook with dry vermouth, in things like risotto or, well, anything that calls for white wine. But what can you do with sweet vermouth once it's past its prime?


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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I've noticed lately that the flavour in my open bottles of vermouth has started to head south, so I think it's time to replace them. However, I feel really bad about simply dumping the remainder of the current bottles. Any suggestions on how to use them up? I frequently cook with dry vermouth, in things like risotto or, well, anything that calls for white wine. But what can you do with sweet vermouth once it's past its prime?

Make some kind of vermouth jelly? (The jell-o type, not the stuff to put on toast.)

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so i took a stab at making dry vermouth...

pretty good stuff. i used a beautiful wine and really nice stuff to fortify it... minerality was gorgeous but the botanicals i used to aromatize it ended up very much like cinnamon and clove... (i didn't add any clove or cinnamon)

i'm not a huge expert on dry vermouth. i don't drink dry gin martini's. when i drink dry vermouth its usually as an acid to balance a spoonful or so of something sweet...

what do people want in a dry vermouth??

higher quality wine definitely can make things interesting... any fruit character to use as a contrast to botanicals...?

what theory is used to justify the beauty people see in vermouth over gin...

compare / contrast ?

i would love to preserve and aromatize one of loimer's reislings... it brings incredible acidity and strange concentrations of flavor... is that fair game or do you have to use a wine that is flawed and try to breath some life back into it?


abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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I could see Viognier, particularly one from the Northern Rhone or Australia making an interesting base, high acid and very floral character. I would feel bad using a nice bottle of it, though. Also not sure how stable it would be (I know the fortification shoudl help, but still). I would think Austrian Riesling might be a little on the austere side, though I've never had one from Loimer. Grenache Blanc might be a good one, already having some spice characteristics, but the affordable ones can be flabby. M. Chapoutier Belleruche CdR Blanc 2006 might work, rated very highly and not terribly expensive. I haven't tried the 06, but the 05 was very nice indeed for the price. It already has a similar mouthfeel to vermouth.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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I could see Viognier, particularly one from the Northern Rhone or Australia making an interesting base, high acid and very floral character. I would feel bad using a nice bottle of it, though. Also not sure how stable it would be (I know the fortification shoudl help, but still). I would think Austrian Riesling might be a little on the austere side, though I've never had one from Loimer. Grenache Blanc might be a good one, already having some spice characteristics, but the affordable ones can be flabby. M. Chapoutier Belleruche CdR Blanc 2006 might work, rated very highly and not terribly expensive. I haven't tried the 06, but the 05 was very nice indeed for the price. It already has a similar mouthfeel to vermouth.

viognier is one of my favorite grapes. but i've always known it to be rich and low acid... i have some torrontes that needs a home that is similar but with more acid. it sort of has a cat pea like character on the nose.

i'm wondering if dry vermouth should be thought of as a mild acid. fortified only to preserve it and minimally spiced only to correct any blandness. does it pair with gin because of its botanicals or because of its acidity?


abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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does it pair with gin because of its botanicals or because of its acidity?

Botanicals, I would say. The fatness and low acidity of vermouth lend a hand in smoothing out gin when it is used in appropriate quantity.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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