Spotlight: Vermouth

Vermouth is having its moment in the spotlight right now, and for good reason. There are some newcomers on the market and they’re showing up in some unique cocktails at your local bar, and hitting our shelves here at Astor Wines & Spirits. New York Magazine recently put together a round-up that includes some of our favorites. Check out the full article here, and take a look at some of our tasting notes below.

Want to learn how to mix vermouth into your cocktail like a pro? Check out this brand new class at Astor Center.

 

Carpano Bianco Vermouth
Carpano is a legendary vermouth producer from Italy that some credit with coining the term “vermuth.” The quality of their vermouth is unquestioned. The Bianco wasn’t available in the U.S. for many years, but now that it is, this bottle should be an obvious addition to your bar. Rich and delicious, the aromas and flavors veer towards rich sweet/spicy Christmas cake, sweet cream, and vanilla extract.

Ransom Dry Vermouth (Staff Pick)
For too long vermouth has languished in recipes created by large, globally branded companies. Finally, the artisanal craft movement has addressed the dearth of excitement regarding fortified wines. Tad Seestedt owns a winery and distillery in Oregon and is the creator of the acclaimed Ransom Old Tom Gin. He has taken the next logical step in creating a fortified wine to his own specifications. Ransom Dry Vermouth is made from a base of Pinot Blanc, along with some more aromatic grape varieties. The long list of botanicals is on the label, unlike the secret recipes of the global brands. The result is an assertive mixer that is both floral and herbaceous, with refreshing acidity and just a touch of sweetness. It is a recipe that can work equally well with a London Dry gin or one of the many new modern gins.

Massican Vermouth
Made by the sensational Napa Valley winery with Italian roots, this small-batch vermouth is dry and driven by deep, herbaceous complexity. Sage, myrtle, and piney brush opens up the air waves, while the wine hints at sweetness, and pleasantly rounds out the experience. Very limited production.

Uncouth Vermouth Pear Ginger
Part of Uncouth’s autumn collection, this vermouth is reminiscent of the fresh ingredients from which it is made. It can be drunk alone or as an enhancer in cocktail experiments.

Perucchi White Vermouth
This Spanish vermouth exhibits some buttered pastries, cinnamon, and cloves. The profile is much closer to a Bianco style and finishes with a twist of citrus. It’s a bit sweet, but not overtly so.

Atsby Amberthorn Vermouth
A unique blend of botanicals show add both character and depth to this high-quality wine and brandy; this is a true sipping and mixing vermouth. Pleasing aromas filled with yellow fruit, oregano, and slight hints of anise wake the senses and reward the palate.