Thursday, March 5, 2015

Pairing Korean Food with Wine

By Liza B. Zimmerman

The spicy, meat-focused, pickled food of Korea has long been one of my favorites. I adore the smoky, grilled short ribs, crisp pancakes and savory soups. Kimchi, fermented cabbage in a hot sauce, is just like mother's milk (I actually never liked milk and this is so much better for me).

Few Korean restaurants serve wine and most fall back on a wide variety of shochu--a white distillate made from rice or other starches like potatoes--offerings with a handful of beers. However sparkling wines, off-dry whites and fruity reds can completely rise to the occasion. I have long brought my own wines to a number of Korean places (particularly in New York).

However the game is changing and a handful of restaurants, and retailers, are trying to lend some guidelines as to what to pair with these strong flavors. Kenny Lee, president of Lee's Korean Restaurant  in Las Vegas, who grew up in a retail wine family, had a plethora of suggestions as to how to make this food work with wine.

History and Reality
"Korean food is traditionally paired with beer and soju due to lack of wines available back in Korea," notes Lee. He adds that, "I noticed that many high-end Korean restaurants in LA have extensive wine lists nowadays." Los Angles is home to one of the largest Korean communities in the country, so it is no surprise that some restaurants there would be leading the charge.

One of the other challenges is the range of flavors that are found in Korean food: from sweet to spicy. Whereas foods such as Vietnamese and Thai, that often run more sweet than hot, can easily be paired with off-dry whites and yeasty bubbles, Korean offers some serious BBQ (beef, pork and chicken) options that really need a hearty red to step up to its flavors. Since, "Korean food tends to be salty, spicy and sweet. I think it overpowers many of the wines, especially reds," concurs Kenny.

He also thinks that the classic, high-acid whites with notes of sweetness work beautiful with much of what is offered on the Korean table. "I think it pairs well with dry and semi-dry white wines. I love it with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with citrus and grapefruit notes, dry Alsatian Riesling or Pinot blanc or trocken and half-trocken German wines."

Lee adds that he likes the residual sugar in wine more and more as the spice levels rise, even if the dish contains meat. "I drank some German Auslese  with ddukbokki--a spicy fish and rice cake dish--and it was amazing." Many of the cuisine's introductory rice dishes also have a salinity and spiciness that helps them work well with wines, he notes.

Many of my favorite dishes in the Korean food lexicon have long been different types of soup: from simple dumplings in rich broth to cold buckwheat noodles in the summer or a spicy stew of octopus that is generally intended for groups of drunken men after a certain hour. If you try to order it earlier in the evening, especially if you are female, most of the restaurants will try to dissuade you.

Kenny had no specific ideas for soup pairings. I myself would go with the base ingredients: a simple broth with a light white or red, with good ribbons of acidity. The cold soup is divine with bubbles and the intensely spicy stews are great with fruit-forward reds.

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Liza Zimmerman has been writing and consulting about wine and food for two decades. She is principal of the San Francisco-based Liza the Wine Chick wine writing, education and consulting firm. She has worked on staff and freelance at national magazines such as Wine Enthusiast, The Magazine of La Cucina Italiana, Wine Spectator, Where SF and the Examiner. She currently contributes to Cheers, Wine Business Monthly and the Examiner, among others.

Zimmerman focuses on demystifying wine and transforming it into a tool for business and networking for companies all over the country. Past clients include Genentech, Roche and IBM.

She has visited all the world’s major wine regions and is one of select few in the U.S. to hold the Diploma of Wine & Spirits (D.W.S.), the three-year precursor to the Master of Wine.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Cocktail: Thomas Paine’s Throbbing Left Elbow

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

Roll up… Roll up for the Mystery Tour croons John Lennon… And on this sweet note and closely approaching cold front from the west, my palate quickens and my thirst becomes ever present.  I need something that sticks in my mind and quenches my desire from the dry air. 

The bracing flavor of freshly picked heirloom apples, as found in Eden "Calville Blend" Ice Cider calls out for a your grandfather’s favorite cut crystal glass adorned solely with a glistening chunk of hand cut ice. 

Splash a few ounces of this lush ice cider over this pure ice and let it capture your imagination for flavor.  You can also drink the ice cider straight if desired.  Eden Ice Cider is world-class stuff and if you’ve never had ice cider, I’d get some as quickly as possible.  It’s that striking. 

For the uninitiated, the whiskey for this drink is none other than the George Dickel "Barrel Select" Tennessee Whisky.  When combined with the salubrious Eden Ice Cider something truly charmed takes place.  The robust notes of charred stone fruits and tangy quince gives way to the playfulness of the ice cider. I’ve frolicked in a glass with the flavors of ice cider and bourbon, but not with something as complex and haunting as George Dickel Barrel Select.  George Dickel Barrel Select is crafted with a mashbill consisting of corn, rye and malted barley. 

There really are very few whiskies that I like as much as the George Dickel Barrel Select.  This is amazing stuff, George Dickel Barrel Select and it is more than worthy of your hard earned money!

A hand-polished spear or a shimmering hunk of ice with the addition of a healthy splash of the Eden Ice Cider makes this drink noteworthy by itself, but then you should get to the serious business of hand-extracting the richly aromatic, zest of an orange. 

My friend and fellow cocktailian, Gary Regan always says that you should never use a peeler- but always cut your orange zest with a paring knife.  I agree with him because even when you are in the weeds, with guests parked three deep at the bar clamoring for another finger-stirred Negroni, your favorite paring knife will be your best friend.  

Every drink that you make will recognize the extra effort that you utilize.  I think it’s vital to use the best components in all mixed drinks even if they take a few extra seconds.  This time shows that you care deeply about the world outside of your own. 

I’m a fan of cocktail bitters in my drinks and I recommend that you utilize the high quality, Bitter Truth lemon bitters for balance.  Bitters to the mixologist are comparable to the spice drawer for chefs.  Bitters add balance and candor and they offer a sense of humility and depth to your craft cocktail.  Bitters are the framework for completion and in my humble opinion they are essential in many mixed drinks.  Lemon bitters add a bit of acidity and wittiness to your guest’s experience.  Lemon bitters are available almost everywhere so you should at least find them just so you can do a bit of experimentation with them.  If you are ever looking for a refreshing “mock-tail” please try taking a pint of seltzer water and adding about 5 drops of lemon bitters…. Sip, sip away! 

Thomas Paine’s Throbbing Left Elbow (serves two)
Ingredients: 
3 oz. George Dickel Barrel Select
2 oz. Eden Ice Cider
2-3 shakes Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters
Hand Cut Ice (Essential)

Preparation:
To a cocktail mixing glass, fill ¾ with regular bar ice
Add the George Dickel Barrel Select
Add the Eden Ice Cider

Mix with a long cocktail spoon
Pour into 2 “Old Fashioned” glasses with a nice rough chunk of ice
Cut a wide zest of orange and twist over the top, releasing the essential oils
Dot with the Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters to finish…

Thomas Paine!  Thomas Paine!  Whacked his funny bone (Thomas Paine’s elbow) on a cast iron drain… Oh gosh that smarts, Thomas Paine. 

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

About Warren Bobrow
Author of: Apothecary Cocktails-Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today- Fair Winds Press- Beverly, Massachusetts. Apothecary Cocktails was nominated for a Spirited Award, 2014 Tales of the Cocktail.  His forthcoming book, Whiskey Cocktails will be released October 14.  Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails follow with publication in spring ’15.  Warren is a master mixologist for several craft liquor companies.

Warren consults about mixology and spirits, travel, organic wine and food.  He’s written for web-blogs and magazines like: Williams-Sonoma, Whole Foods: Dark Rye, Distiller, Total Food Service Magazine, Beverage Media Group, DrinkUpNY, Edible Publications, Foodista, Serious Eats, Mechanics of Style and Beekman1802.  He was in the Saveur-100 in 2010.

Warren is a former, mostly self, trained cook from the pot sink on up.  J&W and ACF were thrown in for good luck.  Warren was the former owner/co-founder of Olde Charleston Pasta in South Carolina: *Dissolved his business after Hurricane Hugo in 1989* - to a career in private banking, (nearly 20 years; “a very grand mistake”) to this reinvention in 2009 as the Warren he's finally become.

Warren is available to do highly personalized, interactive mixology events, local, national and international.
PS: Warren's second book, Whiskey Cocktails is on the market now!
Contact: jockeyhollow@gmail.com

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Pairings for a Typically New York Treat

By Liza B. Zimmerman


While I wasn't as lucky to grow up at The Plaza like Eloise, I did get to spend a nice, long snowy weekend at the Waldorf Astoria this month for an Italian wine tasting. As a matter of fact, the legendary salad is still on the menu there and a great way to start off a meal. The hotel even serves mini versions at brunch!

The salad's sweet, tart and fruity notes when mixed together can pose a challenge when choosing a wine. So I spoke to the Bull & Bear steakhouse's sommelier Jessica Fusco to come up with some suggestions. She said that, "The best wines to complement these flavors would be ones with a balance between fruit and acidity. An off-dry Riesling or a Vouvray Sec would be two very strong contenders. Both have bright acidity, fruit-forward flavors and just enough residual sugar to complement the fruit components in the salad."

Uniting Many Ingredients
A well-chosen wine pairing will also help to unite the many ingredients and flavors and to help bring them together with the wine. "Naturally, the larger the quantity of ingredients, the more difficult if is to identify the dominant flavor/s. With the Waldorf Salad, there is one component that shines through despite its complexity. Acidity! As long as you select a wine with prominent acidity, you cannot go wrong."

Sauvignon Blancs from as close as California and as far afield as France and Chile would also work well with this salad because of their acid structure.

The many fruits and vegetables--such as the raisins, apples and celery--in the salad, can be very hard to pair with certain types of wines because of their green flavors. Fusco suggests focusing on one dominant flavor to guide you to select the wine, which for me would be the sweetness of the apples and dusty crunch of the walnuts. 

Extreme Flavors
If this not so simple salad didn't have enough going on with its basic ingredients, it also has a touch of lemon, yogurt and mayonnaise in the mix. "One must be careful when pairing with these ingredients. For example, a full-bodied wine with oak treatment would create sour flavors on the palate. On the other hand, a light-bodied wine with acidity and a degree of residual sugar on the finish would compliment the tartness of the lemon and the richness of the yogurt," said Fusco. My suggestions might be a slightly off-dry Riesling or a white Rhône, such as a Viognier, with a hint of sugar.

Fusco says that both the Old and New World offer many great pouring options for this salad. "As long as one is selecting a light bodied, fresh and fruit forward white, the options are vast. A Vouvray Sec from the Loire Valley or an off-dry Riesling from the Finger Lakes region of New York would both work well and create the untimely enjoyable culinary experience."

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Liza Zimmerman has been writing and consulting about wine and food for two decades. She is principal of the San Francisco-based Liza the Wine Chick wine writing, education and consulting firm. She has worked on staff and freelance at national magazines such as Wine Enthusiast, The Magazine of La Cucina Italiana, Wine Spectator, Where SF and the Examiner. She currently contributes to Cheers, Wine Business Monthly and the Examiner, among others.

Zimmerman focuses on demystifying wine and transforming it into a tool for business and networking for companies all over the country. Past clients include Genentech, Roche and IBM.

She has visited all the world’s major wine regions and is one of select few in the U.S. to hold the Diploma of Wine & Spirits (D.W.S.), the three-year precursor to the Master of Wine.
Photo credit: Waldorf Astoria NY

Monday, February 23, 2015

Cocktail: The New Visionaries

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

There’s a lot of great small-producer, craft bourbon on the market and I have my favorites.  Four Roses does some pretty amazing stuff with their single barrel offerings, Hudson Spirits was my first love in the rye category (as well as their bourbon) and I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for FEW SPIRITS, as well along with Catoctin Creek, Stranahan’s and Koval- just to name just a very small number of what I love to drink.  

I’ve written about each one and feel very strongly for their flavors and the people behind the brands. 

One in particular stands out as unique because each expression of the whiskey changes, completely!  Each batch is different and I think that’s what makes it truly authentic. 

Barrell Whiskey #001 is the whiskey that is not the same old thing from batch to batch.  Please don’t get too comfortable with each new release because they are constantly changing with each organic turn of the tides.  And with limited production, this sometimes creates certain disappointment if you cannot get what you desire.  So order up now before they are all gone. 

I’ve been playing around with Barrell Whiskey in my own way.  I’m not afraid of mixing it, nor should you be afraid of diluting it a bit.  You really cannot mess it up because I’m going to try to make things really simple for you to follow along. 

Barrell Whiskey has all the stuffing at 122.5 Proof. 

I think that bartenders and even home aficionados are experimenting more with whiskey cocktails.  They just know that whiskey, especially a fine-EXTREMELY mixable (hint, hint) whiskey like Barrell, just calls out for experimentation. 

But as in all good things in life there will be that one customer who will just dribble a touch of branch-water over the top of his Barrell Whiskey and call it a day.  For this person I commend you.  That’s how I like to drink my whiskey.  Sure I enjoy “mixing it up” and that’s a good thing because it’s all about the balance in these drinks.  Plus, I’m attracted to flavor and clarity.  If you use too many ingredients it becomes like a Long Island Iced Tea.  After two, I’d never be able to taste the top shelf ingredients.  Not that this is a bad cocktail, far from.  I just wouldn’t make one with Barrell Whiskey! (Unless you want to of course!)

They’d be like a lost sailor who’s been too long at sea.  Why? Because I don't have to explain why... you will just know.

Barrell Bourbon sits well with my experimentation and I hope you enjoy my art. 

I’m also really fond of a gorgeous, USDA Certified Organic product from another liquid driven visionary in the field of liquor crafting.  This Renaissance man reminds me in many ways of the fine folks who bring Barrell Whiskey to the market.  He is attracted to the loud, the profane, the explosive and the brilliant. 

I know that he can appreciate the value of time to discover the future, and his spirits show this commitment to quality, I know he has great dreams for creativity, just like the folks at Barrell Whiskey. 

The first thing I tasted from this man is named Root.  It’s brilliant and historic.  I’m a huge fan of root beer and while I gush on about just how mixable Root is, please allow me the honor of attempting for just a moment to discover how perfectly Root mixes with Barrell Whiskey.  Root rolls in at 80 Proof, and the Barrell Whiskey comes in at 122.5.  Take heed, they taste like much less mixed into my cocktails.

This unique spirit (Root) is the basis of what I’m trying to achieve with Barrell Whiskey.  Root and Barrell, they just work well together.  And a bit of the Bitter Truth Chocolate Bitters, melds them together along with the finish of a pinch of brightly aromatic, orange peel.  This citrus driven foundation makes the careful drinker seek his or her own vision of the future.  Each sip is enlightenment because the energy of these passionate blends shine through.  

You’re lucky.  This drink has never been tasted outside my lab.  Yet.  Enjoy and tell your friends. Or better yet, make them a drink. 

The New Visionaries
Ingredients: (for two thirsty explorers of the perimeter- where there are no stars…)
2 oz. Barrell Whiskey #001
1 oz. Root (USDA Certified Organic Root Tea)
4 oz. Plain seltzer (between the two glasses, roughly 2 oz. apiece)
2-4 shakes of Bitter Truth Chocolate Bitters
Hand cut orange zest, no peeler!

Preparation:
In a mixing glass, fill ¾ with ice
Add the Barrell Whiskey
Add the Root tea
Mix together until nicely chilled
Pour with a Hawthorne Strainer over one 2x2 rock of ice in two Old Fashioned glasses
Top with the seltzer
Garnish with a paring knife cut orange zest. 

Pinch the zest over the top and rub it on the lip of the glass
Dot with the Chocolate Bitters and serve, start another set, as they go down really easily. 

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

About Warren Bobrow
Author of: Apothecary Cocktails-Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today- Fair Winds Press- Beverly, Massachusetts. Apothecary Cocktails was nominated for a Spirited Award, 2014 Tales of the Cocktail.  His forthcoming book, Whiskey Cocktails will be released October 14.  Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails follow with publication in spring ’15.  Warren is a master mixologist for several craft liquor companies.

Warren consults about mixology and spirits, travel, organic wine and food.  He’s written for web-blogs and magazines like: Williams-Sonoma, Whole Foods: Dark Rye, Distiller, Total Food Service Magazine, Beverage Media Group, DrinkUpNY, Edible Publications, Foodista, Serious Eats, Mechanics of Style and Beekman1802.  He was in the Saveur-100 in 2010.

Warren is a former, mostly self, trained cook from the pot sink on up.  J&W and ACF were thrown in for good luck.  Warren was the former owner/co-founder of Olde Charleston Pasta in South Carolina: *Dissolved his business after Hurricane Hugo in 1989* - to a career in private banking, (nearly 20 years; “a very grand mistake”) to this reinvention in 2009 as the Warren he's finally become.

Warren is available to do highly personalized, interactive mixology events, local, national and international.
PS: Warren's second book, Whiskey Cocktails is on the market now!
Contact: jockeyhollow@gmail.com

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Wines with which to Camp Out in the Sleet and Snow

By Liza B. Zimmerman


If you have been spending any time on the East Coast you might have thought that it was over. However we might be in for even more snow. Every time I have come back to visit my home town this time of year there is always a good snow storm. This year we have had two or three.

When it is cold outside there is nothing I want more than piles of festive bubbles, cured pork products and earthy red wines. I am spending this week at an Italian wine tasting in New York, so I have had some great Proseccos. They tend to be light, well balanced and have refreshing acidity. There are a lovely way to open a meal.

They pair nicely with vegetable-driven appetizers and can take on those green, vegetal notes superbly. If you are opening the meal with some great smoked meats from prosciutto to bresaola and even cured pastrami, a little Lambrusco is always divine. I tend to like the drier versions with food and then the very sweet ones to wrap up a meal. Cantina di Sorbara is a fruit-driven brand worth trying.

Reds to Warm You Up
Lush, opulent reds with good acidity make me want to sit at home in front of the fireplace (I wish I had one). If you having food with your wine--throwing that steak on the Barbie or making a stew of slow-cooked pork--I would go with lean, northern reds. I would be hard pressed to think of what pairs better with a huge range of meats than Piedmontese reds: from the simplest Barbera to the most ephemeral Nebbiolo. Barolos and Barbarecsos are divine, but don't overlook adjacent areas that may not be that prestigious but can make fantastic wine for the price-quality ratio.

If you want some pure sipping pleasure a rich California or Oregon  Pinot Noir can do the trick. French versions may have too much acidity for an after-dinner quaff. A rich earthiness that echoes the silence, even in New York City, of nature outside when it snows is indigent to enjoy in a snow storm. Central Coast and some Northern California Pinot Noirs have some zippy, intense fruit flavors that are almost like dessert on their own. The Roar Pinot Noir from the Santa Lucia Highlands is a feast on its own.

A Little Nightcap
A dry Port, like a vintage or a Tawny, is always a great way to end a toasty night in. Serve them slightly chilled to warm yourself up. An uncuious dessert wine, such as Sauternes or a caramel-flavored Muscat from Italy or Portugal will also satisfy that craving.

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Liza Zimmerman has been writing and consulting about wine and food for two decades. She is principal of the San Francisco-based Liza the Wine Chick wine writing, education and consulting firm. She has worked on staff and freelance at national magazines such as Wine Enthusiast, The Magazine of La Cucina Italiana, Wine Spectator, Where SF and the Examiner. She currently contributes to Cheers, Wine Business Monthly and the Examiner, among others.

Zimmerman focuses on demystifying wine and transforming it into a tool for business and networking for companies all over the country. Past clients include Genentech, Roche and IBM.

She has visited all the world’s major wine regions and is one of select few in the U.S. to hold the Diploma of Wine & Spirits (D.W.S.), the three-year precursor to the Master of Wine.
Photo Credit: www.openkitchen-dcmetro.com

Monday, February 16, 2015

Björk and Birkir: Spirits of Iceland

By Catherine L Luke

Iceland is a country of pure natural beauty with a cultural foundation of strong heritage.  From environmental awareness, to folklore, to unusual cuisine, Iceland is unmistakably one-of-a-kind. 

Despite the country’s leaning toward tradition, there is always room for innovation.  DrinkUpNY would like to introduce Foss Distillery, a company that has created two unique Icelandic spirits.  They are Björk and Birkir- Björk is a liqueur, and Birkir a snaps- new spirits, rooted in Iceland’s old forests. 

I had the opportunity to learn more about the story of Björk and Birkir from Foss Distillery’s Sales and Marketing Manager, Eva Sæland.

Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind Birkir and Björk?
The birch liqueur, Björk, and the birch snaps, Birkir, are the results of experiments with the qualities and possibilities of the Icelandic birch. The explorations were led by sommelier Ólafur Örn Ólafsson and Gunnar Karl Gíslason, head chef of a new Nordic restaurant in Reykjavík called Dill, and captain of the Icelandic culinary team.

The ambition is to bring the flavor of Icelandic nature to the sphere of international drinking culture. As Ólafsson describes, “I wanted to capture the sensation of the bright Icelandic summer night at the moment when the rain shower clears and the morning dew sets on the birch-clad hill. I think I came pretty close.”

That’s such a lovely image, and I believe the idea was successfully manifested.  Where does Foss Distillery source its ingredients from?
Björk and Birkir are two of many Icelandic names drawn from birch.  Birch (Betula pubescens), the signature tree of Iceland, has numerous wholesome qualities.  The Foss distillery team chose it for its unique and fantastic flavor.  The birch is sourced from the unspoiled Icelandic wilderness.  Particularly, the forests of Hallormsstaðaskógur in the east of Iceland.

The idea of an Icelandic birch-based spirit seems very exotic.  Are these born from any existing idea of traditional Icelandic liqueur or snaps styles?
Birch has never before been made into a commercial snaps or liqueur in Iceland.  We are making history.

What is the process of production like?
For both products the birch sap, which is not sweet, is collected from the trees in the spring and made into a syrup that conveys a fresh and memorable savour. The high quality corn spirit used as a base for both Björk and Birkir is sweetened with the syrup- for Birkir a little, and Björk, being a liqueur, a lot more.  The birch sprigs in each bottle of both Björk and Birkir are individually hand-culled and add a special touch to the appearance of the product.

Considering the distinct styles of Björk and Birkir, is the ambition for them to be served simply, or played around with in cocktail combinations?
These are niche products and very suitable for the cocktail market.  They are also great for personal use, and fantastic gifts as the packaging and concept is beautiful.

Favorite Birkir Cocktail:
BIRKI DROPI
Creator: Leó Ólafsson
Ingredients:
3cl Birkir snaps
3cl Cointreau
3cl Lemon juice
3cl Birch syrup
Egg white
Method: Dry shake all ingredients without ice for a few seconds, add ice to shaker and shake vigorously and strain over fresh ice into a double rocks glass. Garnish with slice of lemon and a birch twig.

Favorite Björk cocktail:
BIRKI
Creator: Bruno Falcao
Ingredients:
3cl Björk liqueur
3cl Ginger syrup
3cl Fresh lime juice
3cl Sour Apple De Kuyper
Method: Pour all ingredients into a shaker and shake well with ice. Fine strain into a double old fashioned glass. Garnish with a birch leaf and a slice of apple.

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Catherine lives in Brooklyn, and has worked in the wine industry in Napa Valley and NYC. She is certified by the WSET, as well as the school of "wine in real life".  Understanding the patchwork of little-known Italian regional wines, dishes, and customs excites her most of all. She (sometimes) muses on her blog GrapesofCath.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Massimo d’Azeglio Fizz: A light cocktail for the afternoon

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

Vermouth is a most maligned cocktail ingredient.  Most of the stuff that goes into a cocktail is sour from age because most people don’t know that Vermouth has a pretty short shelf life.  What does that mean? 

Well, it’s simple.  If you don’t refrigerate your Vermouth it’s probably gone sour or worse, it may have something growing in it and not the growth that you want to drink!

I’ve always maintained that Vermouth needs to be refrigerated to remain usable for preparing your fine cocktails!

Just like a bottle of wine, a bottle of Vermouth can go bad!  If you have a bottle lurking on top of your fridge and it’s been there for a few months in the heat, or if you snagged one from your grandparents home, THROW IT OUT NOW.

Vermouth 101…
The original use for Vermouth involved certain core-medicinal properties of the ingredients.  Vermouth contains as the active ingredient- wormwood, which is the also found in the much-maligned intoxicant known as Absinthe.  Wormwood is very effective (like Absinthe) for ridding the body of internal parasites and for the treatment of most minor stomach maladies. 

Vermouth, like many of our modern day aperitifs and their denser Amaro cousins were not originally stirred into a mixed drink to taste.  They were dispensed by apothecaries as medicinals.  Vermouth was also used as a curative against head lice.  Think about that the next time you have a scalp itch.  Just pour a few ounces of Vermouth over your scalp and massage away!  Head lice gone! 

That’s the healing power of wormwood for ye!

In our modern era, a person might take an antacid tablet when they have a bellyache from eating a spicy meal.  In the 1800’s they might have a glass of Vermouth or a glass of Amaro for their curative. 

I much prefer a few glasses of Carpano Antica Vermouth instead of chemically produced stomach tablets. 

Artemisia absinthium (from the Carpano Antica website)
Although the origin of this name is not certain, it probably derives from “Wermuth” the German word for “absinthe” (Arthemisia absinthium). The old spellings of the name were Vermouth, Wermouth or Wermuth. We know that this type of wine was prepared by the ancient Romans and given the name Absinthiatum (o Absinthianum) vinum. The first Italian writer to make mention of this wine was C. Villifranchi in his Tuscan Oenology (1773). It owes its fame, however, to Antonio Benedetto Carpano, the first person to replicate the recipe with the same characteristics and taste in his wine shop starting in 1786.

EEC regulation no. 1601 of 10 June 1991 lays down general rules on definition, description and presentation of aromatized wines, aromatized wine-based drinks and aromatized wine products.

According to this regulation, an aromatized wine (or wine-based aperitif) is defined as a drink obtained from one or more wines with the addition of alcohol, aromatized using natural substances and/or preparations with the addition of aromatic herbs and/or spices and/or flavoring foodstuffs.  

The regulation also provides a definition for Vermouth (or Vermout) as an “aromatized wine which has been prepared from wine, the characteristic taste of which is obtained by the use of appropriate derived substances, in particular of the Artemisia species, which must always be used; this drink may be sweetened only by means of caramelized sugar, sucrose, grape must, rectified concentrated grape must and concentrated grape must”.

COMPOSITION
In order to be classed as a vermouth, it must be composed of at least 75% of wine, have a minimum alcoholic strength by volume of 14.5% or more and a maximum alcoholic strength by volume of less than 22% and must contain Artemisias, which are its characterizing elements.

Carpano Antica Dry Vermouth…  Hold your horses!  Is Carpano now making Dry Vermouth? 
The short answer is yes, and it’s very, very good in a cocktail or alone in a snifter.  Carpano Antica Dry can even used to deglaze a pan of caramelized shallots and olive oil- after sautéing your crispy veal scaloppini. 

Dry, as in crisp against my tongue and thoughtfully aromatic are my first impressions.  Think of that familiar-signature sweet taste of Carpano Antica with most of the sugar removed from your first sip.  Carpano Antica Dry is the personification of elegance and substance.  Each sip thrusts scents of ancient Middle Eastern herbs, essences of bitter orange and green apple peels deeply into your memory, as if to say, drink me, and then drink me again, deeply and then remember my spark (the fizz) forever. 

Massimo d’Azeglio Fizz  (a light cocktail for the afternoon)
Ingredients:
½ oz. Carpano Antica Dry Vermouth
½ oz. Maraska Maraschino Liqueur
21 oz. Pellegrino Lemon Soda
Bitter Truth Grapefruit Bitters
2 slices (about ½ inch each) Smoked Blood Oranges

Preparation:
(Smoke your thick slices of Blood Orange on a grill or in a pinch, inside a ceramic bowl- you light the shards of wood first, then with tongs, hold the orange slices over smoldering apple wood chips or your choice of wood chips.
 Do this for at least a few minutes on each side to infuse the sweet wood smoke deeply into the spicy blood orange rounds)

In a cocktail mixing vessel, muddle some of the smoked Blood Orange slices to reveal their aromatics and precious juices, add some ice to fill the mixing vessel ½ way

Add the Vermouth
Add the Marachino liqueur
Stir to chill, but not dilute
Strain with a Hawthorne Strainer into an Old Fashioned glass where one 2x2 ice cube is patiently resting
Top with the Pellegrino Lemon Soda
Dot with the Bitter Truth Grapefruit Bitters
Garnish with a pinwheel of smoked orange

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

About Warren Bobrow
Author of: Apothecary Cocktails-Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today- Fair Winds Press- Beverly, Massachusetts. Apothecary Cocktails was nominated for a Spirited Award, 2014 Tales of the Cocktail.  His forthcoming book, Whiskey Cocktails will be released October 14.  Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails follow with publication in spring ’15.  Warren is a master mixologist for several craft liquor companies.

Warren consults about mixology and spirits, travel, organic wine and food.  He’s written for web-blogs and magazines like: Williams-Sonoma, Whole Foods: Dark Rye, Distiller, Total Food Service Magazine, Beverage Media Group, DrinkUpNY, Edible Publications, Foodista, Serious Eats, Mechanics of Style and Beekman1802.  He was in the Saveur-100 in 2010.

Warren is a former, mostly self, trained cook from the pot sink on up.  J&W and ACF were thrown in for good luck.  Warren was the former owner/co-founder of Olde Charleston Pasta in South Carolina: *Dissolved his business after Hurricane Hugo in 1989* - to a career in private banking, (nearly 20 years; “a very grand mistake”) to this reinvention in 2009 as the Warren he's finally become.

Warren is available to do highly personalized, interactive mixology events, local, national and international.
PS: Warren's second book, Whiskey Cocktails is on the market now!
Contact: jockeyhollow@gmail.com
Drink Up NY Blog Homepage Drink Up NY Homepage