Manhattan Cocktail – Bourbon, Vermouth and Bitters make a beautiful moment.
So what would you do with a bottle of Vermò Vermouth di Torino Rosso? I love the idea of vermouth but I don’t really like sweet drinks – so this particular contemporary styled vermouth is perfect for me. Vermò (17% ABV) is the of the brainchild of young friends Jorge Ferrer, a Spaniard, and Ettore Velutto, an Italian, who wanted to bring vermouth into the modern-day with a new product that took the best of Spanish vermouth and best of Italian vermouth. It makes a great Manhattan too!
Vermouth is a kind of fortified wine – like Port and Sherry – a drink that is enhanced with neutral alcohol, which stops fermentation, and then flavoured with herbs, botanicals and spices. It’s traditionally made in Italy, France and Spain and there are massive variations in drinks which are all vermouth. The classic red vermouths of Italy and Spain tend to be sweeter while French vermouths are more likely to be white and dry (Noilly Prat for example). But over time, the edges have blurred and the extra dry Martini I keep in the fridge and use both as an aperitif and to add to fish or poultry dishes, comes from Lazio in Italy, while there are plenty of French red vermouths too. Then, the technique used to make Vermouth has been borrowed to produce a range of other fortified wines.
In the UK, red Italian and Spanish vermouth is known for being very sweet and you’ll more often find it used in a cocktail than drunk alone; here to challenge that, Vermò has a much lighter body and lower sugar content than typical vermouths, with chardonnay added to the wine base to add extra acidity and a crisper, dryer finish. As sweet vermouth di Torino must include a minimum of 13% sugar Vermò has a 14% sugar content, making it a much lighter drink than most vermouths which opt for a much higher percentage, with no excessive sweetness.
For me, that makes it just perfect for sipping as an aperitif, either on its own or over ice. It’s also a great base for a vermouth cocktail. I made a delicious Manhattan, using the sugar syrup from my Starlino Maraschino Cherries to add a little sweetness and contrast with the herbal notes of the vermouth and the kick of the Whiskey.
Of course, nothing about this Manhattan is classic. The origin of Manhattan is likely to be from the Manhattan region of New York City. There’s a popular belief that it was created at the Manhattan Club in the mid-1870s, invented by Dr Iain Marshall for a party held by Jennie Jerome (Winston Churchill’s mother) to honour presidential candidate Samuel J. Tilden. But, there are references to similar cocktails called ‘Manhattan, created at least ten years earlier, albeit in the same part of New York City.
Whoever created it, the original drink was a mix of American Whiskey, Italian Vermouth and Angostura bitters. And, many mixologists believe you should only use a Rye Whiskey So using Bourbon, which is what I’ve done here is strictly not correct. Bourbon is a type of American Whiskey which is made from a mash that contains at least 51% corn. But, for the modern palate, Bourbon, which is more familiar, is often preferred. A Manhattan is made with Rosso vermouth, which means that Vermò should be acceptable. As mentioned above, it’s a little less sweet than traditional Italian vermouths, but you could add a little more Maraschino syrup if you want a sweeter drink. Try for yourself and see what you think. Here’s the recipe I used.
A bourbon based Manhattan cocktail with Vermo Rossi Vermouth and
- 45 ml bourbon
- 30 ml rosso vermouth
- 5 ml syrup from the maraschino cherries or simple syrup if necessary
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 2 maraschino cherries
- 1 lemon twist
Stir all the ingredients other than the cherries and lemon twist in a jug of ice
Strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with a twist of lemon and cherries
Now, if you like the sound of my Manhattan – or you want to try one of the other vermouth cocktails they are suggesting…or if you just like vermouth by itself, pop over to our Instagram account where you’ll find a fabulous giveaway – your chance to win a bottle for yourself. And find out more about why you need this vermouth in your life by checking out their website
Disclosure: We were gifted the bottle of vermouth used to make this cocktail