I was recently given a taste of an exceptional vermouth rosso, Carpano Antica. So good, I immediately went out and bought a bottle. Question is: what is the best way to drink it? Straight up, over ice, or your suggestion? At 3 or 4 times the cost of most sweet vermouths, it seems a waste to use it in a cocktail like a Manhattan when the less expensive vermouths are just fine.

Answer From Expert Roger Bohmrich MW

I don't drink Vermouth very often, but I am fascinated by the many artisanal versions, either imported or U.S-produced, which are cropping up on the market. Have you tried Contratto and Antica Torino, also Italian, or the Vermut of Emilio Lustau, the great Sherry house? My question like yours when tasting these delicious beverages is how to drink them. Of course, they are used principally as an ingredient in cocktails, but that seems a shame given their incredible flavors. You've probably noted that Carpano suggests on their website that their Vermouth could be used in a Negroni or Americano. I like the recipes they show because there are minimal ingredients and no strong spirit, or anything that is high in sugar. I also favor the fairly high ratio of bitters. Have you experimented with their versions of these two drinks? I agree that a minimal approach would show Carpano at its best, and that it should be cold. Perhaps the juice of a freshly squeezed orange?

About The Expert

Roger has enjoyed a lengthy career in the wine trade as an importer and retailer, and at present he is an educator, speaker and consultant. He set up and managed Millesima USA, a New York merchant affiliated with a leading European company. Previously, he served as senior executive of importers Frederick Wildman & Sons. In recent years, Roger has judged wine competitions in Argentina, Turkey and China. Roger became one of America's first Masters of Wine in 1993.

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