Mention vermouth to Americans and the mind shakes up a cocktail. To Italians, the same word paints a soothing picture of an aperitivo quaffed on the rocks as the sun sets. Martini & Rossi hopes that drinkers in the United States will learn to be transported to their own imagined Mediterranean terraces as it releases Rosato—a sort of rosé, vermouth—in the United States for the first time.
Martini first created Rosato, its youngest expression in the 1980s, relying on the tasting notes of Luigi Rossi, a winemaker and a company principal when the firm was founded in the 19th century. The aperitivo weds red and white Italian varietals to create a balance of flavor somewhere between a sweet and dry vermouth, but also fresh and spicy with its aromatics of raspberry, lemon, clove, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Moreover, it is distinctly pink. This fact should not dissuade men from enjoying Rosato, as it is quite robust and not at all precious. One strategy may be to substitute it in place of cranberry juice to retain your manhood when you've mistakenly been shanghaied to a Cosmopolitan party.
While Martini promotes Rosato as a cocktail unto itself for serving over ice, it also gives nod to the mixology movement, creating a number of drinks with the vermouth and also suggesting serving it with seltzer. Our favorite was the Melograno:
- 2 parts Rosato
- 2 parts pomegranate juice
Build ingredients over ice and top with a squeeze of lime and sprig of mint.
But the Rosato Punch also suggests a good jumping point for mixological experimentation:
Martini Rosato Punch
- 2 parts Rosato
- 2 parts vodka
- 1 part pineapple juice
- 1/2 part lime juice
Mix with sliced fresh passion fruit or other fruits and chilled ice.
We couldn't resist mixing up the classic vermouth cocktails—the Manhattan and the Martini—using Rosato in place of sweet or dry vermouth. We did, however, stick with the spirit of the product by making both over rocks instead of strained and using an extremely wet ratio of one part Rosato to one part spirit (Knob Creek Bourbon in the case of the Manhattan and Death's Door gin for the Martini).
The Manhattan was, in a sense, a version of the Perfect Manhattan, which adds a measure of dry vermouth to the typical sweet vermouth quotient. The Martini was a revelation, very balanced and refreshing. Both were very light-hearted takes on what are otherwise serious cocktails when mixed strictly. It makes each more suitable for warm-weather drinking, when gulping with a view toward thirst quenching could be major mistake.