Vermouth here in the New York area has a venerable history.
From hair tonic to stomach digestive and even wound sterilizer, Vermouth followed
the immigrants from Europe. Vermouth was such a great healer that it made
its way across the ocean from Europe in satchels and suitcases.
New York State is undergoing a resurgence of craft
Vermouth. I’m not talking about
imitating the styles of old, but creating a new wave. Vermouth from New York in particular is going
places from a flavor perspective that excites me!
The first of these New York State Vermouth companies are ChanningDaughters Winery in the North Fork of Long Island.
Channing Daughters is handcrafting expressions of Vermouth that mimic
the seasonal approach to fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. The variations are pure and terroir
driven. I am a fan of the variation
four, bursting with late summer melon, flowers, herbs and the best reason of
all, the quality of the wine.
I’m consistently impressed by Q-Soda,
which is why I included their club soda- made with just a pinch of sea salt, in
The Hedderwick Fizz
- Add all ingredients except for the Club Soda and the Bitters
- Shake really well
- Pour over one cube of hand cut ice
- Dribble some Q-Club Soda over the top and dot with the Angostura Bitters
Uncouth Vermouth is the most unique of the bunch in this tasting. Coaxing deeply individualistic flavors out of
wild gathered herbs and roots, Bianca Miraglia is more a conjurer of flavor than producer of mere wines. Bianca’s wine-based products sing of an inner
light. A spirit dancer rakes across your
palate in every sip. Flavors like Beet/Eucalyptus are bursting with an earthy
sensibility. The smoky heat of the long
simmered local wine in the Butternut Squash Vermouth frames the beets. The Eucalyptus element lurking in the
background of the Vermouth is stark and enlightening. This mix in particular hints of fall in each
sip. Fall is one of my favorite seasons
in the glass and can be found in this Vermouth.
Drinks with this particular Vermouth necessitate a large dose of an
exemplary gin, like Barr Hill Gin from Caledonia Spirits which is hand-crafted in Vermont from raw honey. It plays nicely in your glass
along with Bianca’s Uncouth Vermouth.
But which one of her products makes the best mixer?
I’ll leave that to you.
Bianca makes it crystal clear that mixing her Vermouth is
quite the adventure in flavor. You
should treat her Vermouth as something way past your comfort zone.
Memoir of Fleming
- Add the Barr Hill Gin to the Beet Eucalyptus Vermouth and
the 3 Chilies Syrup to a Boston Shaker
- Fill the Boston Shaker ¾ with large ice
- Shake for ten or so seconds, hard!
- Strain over one hand cut ice cube
- Pour the Q-Club Soda over the top
- Shake two or three drops of the Fee Brothers Black Walnut
bitters over the cocktail to finish
Atsby Vermouth is making a play towards being New York City royalty in the Vermouth business. Deep
aromatics and romantic, caramelized fruit flavors in each sip takes the drinker
directly to Italy without a plane ticket.
Atsby Armadillo Cake is a very fine, American-made version of one of Europe’s most historic and lush
sweet Vermouths, namely Carpano Antica. I love dribbling the Armadillo Cake
Vermouth over a Glace Luxury ice cube with nothing more in the glass than air. (OK, I’ll have a lemon zest
The other variety of Vermouth from Atsby is named Amberthorn. This style of Vermouth is austere, dry and
pungent. It offers sniffs of saddle
leather and ocean-slicked Maine sea stones.
Amberthorn calls out for something quite precious to be mixed with. It needed something extraordinary, meted out
drop by drop. Amberthorn speaks in
hushed tones like whisperers in a library.
Amberthorn has a serious hankering for the ultra-elegant Whisky named
is distilled from barley and is a single malt.
There is hardly any of the classic smoke of Scotland’s namesake, yet it
is full of life and grip with notes of orange zest soaked in cognac then dipped
in 70% bittersweet chocolate. I’ve
included Brenne in this drink because it offers the French take on the
perennial classic, the Rob Roy, in a purely modern context.
The King Perhaps?
- 2 oz. Brenne Whisky from France- brilliant stuff really…
- 1 oz. Amberthorn Vermouth from Atsby
- 1 of your home cured cocktail cherries or a lemon zest
- Aromatic Bitters of your choice
- I like to prepare the glass with the Bitters after making
sure it is very cold. Ice and water works well - pour out and moisten the
inside of a Martini glass with Bitters
- In a Cocktail Mixing glass, fill ¾ with large ice
- Add the Brenne and the Amberthorn Vermouth
- Stir until chilled and strain with a Hawthorne strainer into
your Martini glass
- If you choose to use a lemon zest, prep the glass by rubbing
it on the inside of the glass before pouring the drink on top. Or pinch it over
the drink after being poured into the glass.
It’s really up to you.
The Armadillo Cake is a trip to Southern Europe in your
glass… Weaned on the sumptuous flavors deep inside the twisted minds of the
alchemists behind each sip, this Vermouth expression was force-fed travel and
culture for decades. Then it was set
free to conquer your discerning palate in cocktails or just alone in a wine glass
with a twist of cool lemon zest.
I’ve used the Armadillo Cake expression in a memorable
cocktail woven from a wash of exotic, French distilled Tenneyson Absinthe, pure and historic, FourRoses Single Barrel Bourbon and a home-cured cherry. Using your own
cocktail cherries propels this aromatic drink into one with a very modern
approach to purely American dreams.
- Wash the Tenneyson Absinthe in a frosty crystal glass, combine ice and water with an ounce of Absinthe then
let cool the glass down before making this drink. You’d better pour the wash into your mouth as
not to lose any of the precious liquor (this is purely my
- 2 oz. Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon
- 1 oz. Atsby Armadillo Cake Vermouth
- Hand Cut Ice or one of those gorgeous Glace Luxury ice
- Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters
- To a cocktail mixing glass filled ¾ with ice add the
Armadillo Cake Vermouth and the Four Roses Bourbon
- Stir with a long cocktail spoon (it’s not a race, so please
don’t bruise the ice!)
- Place a hand cut cube or that nice Glace round you’ve been
saving in a rocks glass
- Strain the cocktail over the top and garnish with one of
your house-cured cherries
- Shake a few drops of the Bitter Truth Aromatic bitters over
the top and serve
Use a home cured cherry- for God’s sake, throw those red things from
the liquor distributor out, it’s easy and it shows you care!
- 1 pound Washington State Cherries
pitted and picked over, you don’t want to break your customer’s or your teeth
- 1 -750ml bottle of bourbon – it
doesn’t have to be a single barrel effort, just something you would use in your
- Sterilized Mason jars: boil water to 212 degrees and dip everything
you plan to use later in this boiling water (essential)
- Cover the pitted cherries with the
- Cover the Mason jars and
refrigerate for a month or so before opening or moving or anything
strange. Hide from others who may want
the luscious cherries on their vanilla ice cream.
- After you infused the cherries for
a month or so, strain them, reserving the liquor in another container or leave
it in for further infusion…
You can use the bourbon and cherry
juice in cocktails that call for an infused simple syrup. You know, something full of flavor!
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