Vermouth is having a moment. That’s what I’ve been saying for the last four years, but I’m reallllly feeling it right now. I mean, in Italy its moment started in 1757 in Turin with Casa Cinzano, and it never really let up! It’s just taken a bit longer for us to catch up in the States…
One of the reasons we’ve been slow to catch on is because we never really knew how to drink vermouth. Besides adding it as a required ingredient to a Manhattan or a Martini – people still didn’t know what its purpose was (bone dry Martini, anyone?) – vermouth was never a vital part of our drinking culture here. The modern cocktail revival then put a major spotlight on the Negroni – which is a third sweet vermouth…and people in the U.S. started to pay attention. But the real tragedy about vermouth that keeps people from using it regularly is that many of us still don’t know how to store it! Instead of collecting dust on your home bar or hidden away on some back shelf somewhere, vermouth MUST BE REFRIGERATED. I will never stop saying this in all caps. Until every one refrigerates their vermouth, that is. Think of it as wine. Because…it is! Well, it starts out as either red or white wine and then is “aromatized” with herbs and spices, and then fortified by adding a neutral spirit which increases its alcohol content and its shelf life. But because all vermouth must be made up of at least 75% wine, it is still prone to oxidization. Keep it cold, people.
Now that we know how to keep vermouth, let’s talk about how to use it…
I love wine and herbaceous things and Italian stuff, so I’m sort of a sucker for Italian vermouth and Cinzano is the OG. I was asked to create a cocktail for their upcoming Respect the Drink campaign, and was given a choice to use one of their Aperitif Classics. I love working with sweet vermouth in a cocktail, so the spicy, botanical forward Rosso was my pick. Dry or sweet vermouth is a wonderful addition to a drink for its depth of flavor. It can also be used as a primary ingredient in a low alcohol cocktail, which is what I’ve created in the Cinzano Rosso Spritz. Have I also mentioned that I love a spritz?!
Cinzano Rosso Spritz
2 oz Cinzano Rosso Vermouth
3-4 oz Sparkling Wine
1 oz Grapefruit Juice
Splash Soda Water
Garnish: Grapefruit Peel
Build drink in an ice-filled glass. Garnish.
Besides loving their vermouth, I’ve always adored the imagery in old Cinzano ads. This photoshoot was actually inspired by some of the graphics in Cinzano advertising over the years.
I also looked to its current logo. So clean, so graphic, so Italiano!
Try picking up a bottle of Cinzano Italian vermouth and play around with what you can make with it. Or just whip up the Cinzano Rosso Spritz. It’s a simple one and…questo cocktail è così buono!
This post was sponsored (and powered!) by Cinzano