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Moxie (and I) enjoy a Manhattan every so often so when I made a batch for the Super Bowl I realized I needed more ingredients.  I have experimented in the past with different Vermouths ranging from the cheap-and-cheerful Martini & Rossi to the $45 per bottle Carpano Antica.  They were all out of our usual- the Dolin so I settled for a split of Carpano Classico at $12 for the 375ml.  Drinking Vermouth straight up is not something to be done daily but in my quest to build a better palate I am willing to take one for the team.  Here goes-

Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry

Right off the bat this pale amber (wine?) has aromas of juniper.  Secondarily I get bitter orange, a medicinal hint and some cooked cherry cake with baking spices.  On the palate this 16% ABV wine is off-dry with bitter orange, baking spices, medicinal notes and a dusty tree bark hint that I have never come across before.  Medium (-) acidity, medium body and a decently long finish make for a very pleasant surprise- I really like this all by itself!  It’s not a daily drinker, but a small glass every so often with some tapas would not go amiss.  It’s our go-to mixer for now.

Carpano Classico

Slightly darker and more amber in the glass this one runs the same 16% ABV.  The nose is a bit more rustic with some earth and burnt sugar (from oak?). It’s more on the Bitters side of things along with grilled orange peel, a touch of some medicinal notes and a bit of stewed cherry.  The palate is far more bitter than the Dolin, not really astringent but very much like dried orange pith.  It’s not a sipper…nope.  It feels more acidic and has a sharp mid palate of bitter orange that carries to the shortish finish.  Medium bodied it shows off the alcohol ever so slightly.  Not my favorite, but we will see how it fares as a Manhattan component.

Our Classic Manhattan recipe

  • 2 parts Canadian Whisky (I opt for the Kirkland Signature, at $20 for 1.75 ltr it’s damn good)
  • 1 part Sweet Vermouth (Usually the Dolin, at $17 a bottle it’s middle of the road on price)
  • dash of Angostura bitters (Not too much as the Vermouth is inherently bitter)
  • dash of Luxardo cherry juice (It HAS to be Luxardo, anything else is crap)
  • Shake well with ice and serve garnished with a Luxardo cherry or two