If you haven’t tried Carpano Antica yet, please do so. And if you haven’t tried it on its own you have to. Yes, I just told you to sip on a glass of vermouth. Trust me. There’s nothing quite like it. You can definitely drink this over ice (larger cubes) like an aperitif.
This Italian sweet vermouth was created by Antonio Benedetto Carpano. Antonio is reported to be the godfather of vermouth and Carpano Antica is the original recipe that dates back to 1786. Even The label is an enduring replica of the 1786 original. Antonio gave birth to the title vermouth, named after the German wine using wormwood (Wermut). Vermouth was initially created to flavor wines of poor quality, which lead to its reputed medicinal values of curing digestive ailments. This sweet vermouth is an aromatized Italian style wine product. The original recipe was created from white wine with the infusion of over 30 varieties of herbs and spices. With that said let’s get to my tasting notes. Good luck, right?
You’ll notice upon pouring your first glass the coloring is of caramelized sugar, a brownish orange. It’s rather thick. If you swirl it around your glass it’ll leave long legs. The nose bursts with vanilla, clove, figs, orange peel and possibly a touch of toffee. It’s a very complex whiff, as there are other indescribables. The sip test reveals orange peel and dried fruit right up front. The mid-palette is bitter, probably from the wormwood and orange peel (almost like a tonic). Finally, it leaves you with a fantastically clean finish of toffee, vanilla and caramel. It’s a very intense and well rounded experience and one that everyone should experience for themselves.
This is the best vermouth one can buy. You’re definitely going to want to vacuum seal and refrigerate your bottle. I know I just told you this is a sweet vermouth, but be careful substituting this in recipes that call for sweet vermouth. It’s not that sweet. It’s bitter. I’d use this in a Manhattan, Bobby Burns or a Vieux Carré. All this talk has me craving a cocktail with Carpano Antica. I think I’ll make myself a Manhattan right now. Drink like kings, my friends. Pinky out.
Bottles around $30.