Carpano Antica Formula red vermouth has been a treasured bar staple, if not a cult item, since the modern cocktail revival. Enthusiasts who have traveled to Italy’s Piedmont may know of the existence of the other Carpano vermouths, but only in the last year have they become available in the US. While the vermouth market has exploded in recent years with new products, to taste this Carpano is to sample a vermouth without an agenda or a hook. It simply and straightforwardly provides the function of a dry aromatized, fortified wine. And while it may lack the complexities or unusual flavorings of some of the new vermouths, it does the job most of us ask of our white vermouths better than any of them: It mixes beautifully. That is, it makes the best martini of any vermouth I’ve tasted. Because it integrates so well, it can be used in greater proportion than other vermouths (I like 3 ounces of gin to a half-ounce of Carpano Dry). Incidentally, don’t confuse it with Carpano Bianco, which is sweeter.
Infinium Spirits, Aliso Viejo, CA
Year’s Best 2014
Jordan Mackay’s writing on wine, spirits and food has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Decanter, the Art of Eating and many other publications. While Secrets of the Sommeliers, the book he wrote with Rajat Parr, won a James Beard Award in 2011, it’s certain winemakers that he credits with some of his most important tasting lessons.
This story appears in the print issue of Winter 2016.
Like what you read? Subscribe today.