Eight New Vermouths
Whether you sip them straight up or use them to upgrade cocktails, these new vermouths are simply stellar.
This vividly named New York-based newcomer uses Long Island Chardonnay as the base wine and Finger Lakes apple brandy as the fortifying spirit. The mellow amber version is sweetened with dark caramel made from muscovado sugar and spiked with cardamom, wild celery and shiitake mushroom—unusual flavorings indeed.
For its 120th anniversary, the House of Cocchi recommenced production of its original Vermouth di Torino recipe, which was first offered in 1891. Made using Moscato from the family estate as its wine base, the flavor profile is rich and lush, with notes of dried fig and cocoa. It’s a new favorite for Negronis and other cocktails, though it’s also delicious on its own.
Unveiled at the July 2012 Tales of the Cocktail conference in New Orleans, this light amber vermouth is made with Orange Muscat and Colombard grapes, yielding intense aromas of orange, vanilla and nuts, with a dry, almost Sherry-like finish. Made in California.
Made with Pinot Gris from Willamette Valley, Oregon, this white vermouth falls somewhere between sweet and dry, with perky lemongrass, chamomile and pine notes. Bartender Neil Kopplin of Portland, Oregon’s Beaker & Flask has long made vermouth for his bar, but he partnered with winemakers Derek Einberger and Jennifer Kilfoil to bring this product to market—perfect for vermouth-heavy 50-50 martinis. Next up: Petal & Thorn, which Kopplin calls “an all wine-driven version of Aperol or Campari,” given a rosy hue by organic Oregon beets.
From Cana’s Feast winery in Carlton, Oregon, this red vermouth is made in the Italian chinato style, using Washington State-grown Nebbiolo grapes and perfumed with rhubarb, fennel and cinnamon. The end result is earthy and spicy. Sip this on the rocks with soda and an orange twist, or pair with chocolate. A domestic amaro is also reportedly in the works.
Inspired by a trip to Europe, bar director at Eastern Standard in Boston Jackson Cannon makes rosé vermouth, a variety not available by the bottle in the U.S., made from Garnacha and Cognac, steeped with vanilla beans, orange peels, fresh thyme and sage. The final result is rosy pink and subtly spiced, and lends complexity to drinks such as L’Amerique (white whiskey, yellow Chartreuse) and the Vin Amer Fizz (apricot, egg white, Champagne).
At elegant restaurant Rouge Tomate in New York City, it’s all about what’s local, seasonal and, when possible, organic. And that extends to the drinks. To that end, wine and beverage director Pascaline Lepeltier starts with organic dry white wine and adds dehydrated citrus peels and other aromatics, which gently flavor what eventually becomes an organic white vermouth suitable for the most virtuous martinis.
Vermouth On Tap at Amor y Amargo
At this tiny East Village outpost in New York City, house-made sweet vermouth flows on tap to fill out bold Americanos and other cocktails. Former bartender, Mayur Subbarao, created the vermouth, enhanced by immersing wood staves and curlicues for additional flavor, similar to the vanilla tones that barrel-aging would provide.