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A Trio of Vermouths for Your Next Manhattan

Jack Bettridge
Posted: February 22, 2013

(continued from page 1)

Contratto Americano Rosso (33 proof or 16.5 percent alcohol by volume, $32.99 for a 750 ml bottle): Not quite as complex as the red Vermouth (25 aromatics), the Americano has a very fresh and minty nose that is more spicy or eucalyptus-like than bitter. In the mouth, it’s herbs and spices become savory and are joined with more sweetness. Aromatics include: ginger, mint leaves, hibiscus flower, hawthorn flower, nettle leaves, angelica roots , bitter orange peel, rhubarb roots, sage and sweet orange peel.

Manhattan suggestions: The tanginess of this aperitif suggests good interplay with sweeter, more classic style spirits—Wild Turkey, Knob Creek and Evan Williams—and that is certainly borne out, but don’t overlook its possibilities with a smoky Scotch—Lagavulin, Laphroaig, Caol Ila—in a Rob Roy. They’re mindscramblers.

Contratto Vermouth Bianco (36 proof or 18 percent alcohol by volume, $32.99 for a 750 ml bottle): The most complex of the trio (50 aromatics), the white is surprisingly sweet after a nose that comes off like a dry pinot grigio. Aromatics include: Hawthorn flower/leaves, coriander seeds, marjoram leaves, bay laurel leaves, chamomile flower, yellow sweet clover, aloe juice, cinnamon, mint leaves, ginger roots, angelica roots , cardamom seeds, nutmeg, bitter orange peel, gentian roots, nettle, sweet orange peel, carob tree pods, pimento seeds, felon herb, rhubarb roots, hibiscus flower, sage, bark of China, lemon peel, bergamot orange peel, liquorices roots, sandalwood, etc.

Manhattan suggestions: Whereas you typically expect white Vermouth to go in a Martini, we’d caution against that use unless you have a gin that has a full-frontal tasting profile, such as a Dutch gin or an Old Tom (or possibly vodka if you want to go in the other direction and simply weaponize this enchanting Vermouth.) Instead use it in a dry or perfect (half red, half white) Manhattan. Pairs well with wheat Bourbons like Maker’s Mark, Pappy Van Winkle and W.L. Weller.

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Comments   4 comment(s)

Frederick Amodeo — Bellport, New York, USA,  —  February 23, 2013 8:13am ET

Can't wait to get some of the Rosso for my manhattan's. I am a lover of both manhattan's and martini's, Vodka and gin. Will try the white with them both.

Taylor Franklin February 24, 2013 3:20am ET

Vermouth either Red or White is wine and oxidises in a day or two after opening. A good way to ruin a perfectly good cocktail.

Use a vacuum stopper and freeze it to keep it fresh.

JACK BETTRIDGE — NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES,  —  February 25, 2013 7:54am ET

Or you could step up your Manhattan intake and not give the Vermouth time to turn.

Taylor Franklin February 28, 2013 1:48am ET

Sage advice from Jack !

Have a party with friends and the like, always a good idea.

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