Some nights you just need a classic. Martini, Old Fashioned, Daiquiri, Aviation, Manhattan… Tonight was a good night. Got into the office early at eight before the phones started ringing, even got hit sideways after lunch with a firedrill project – those projects you get when its 2 PM and you are told it needs to be finished by the next morning or else. Took it all in stride, logged a good productive 10, and called it a day.
Even mangaged to gobble down my lunch in 10 minutes so I had time to run across the street to the booze nerd liquour store. I had recently discovered that vermouth – as a fortified wine – spoils. Not as quick as regular wine, since it IS fortified, but it will spoil. Especially if you don’t know this and leave it in your liquor cabinet and neglect to use it because you are too enamoured with your other recent booze purchases. Ahem. Way too old vermouth = N.A.S.T.Y.
Doing some research (AKA seeking the Oracle at Mountain View), it turns out that the best means to prolong your vermouth is to treat it just like wine. This means reducing oxidation – whether with a wine pump or injecting inert gas or the simple decanting to a smaller bottle. Refridgeration also helps as well – combined with reducing the air in the storage bottle, it can take a shelf life of a month or two and prolong it up to six months. Of course, drinking more frequently is another method!
This whole ramble is just prologue to an excuse to splurge a bit and pick up a bottle of Carpano Antica, the original sweet vermouth, which I had been dying to try. It sure as heck looked fancy. Came in a metal tin. Big heavy glass bottle. Even had a foil seal with a cork. Boo-zwa-zee. And the taste was 100% whoa – not too cloying sweet, orange peel scents, herbal, long finish. Drinkable straight, on ice, with a little orange twist. OK, Italy – you win. You know how to make an aperitivo/digestivo.
All of which meant that what I needed at the end of this day, for vermouth this tasty, was good old American rye whiskey.
2 oz. rye whiskey
1 oz. sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica, or Carpano Punt y Mes for a twist)
a couple of dashes of your choice of bitters (Angostura, Peychaud’s, peach, rhubarb, cherry…)
Stir with plenty of ice. Strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with homemade brandied cherry. Because you can.