At long last, the foggy days of “summer” have parted, and the weekend arrives, full of promise and sunshine. Summer begs for refreshing cocktails, and lighter, brighter beverages. But what does a girl who loves her Manhattans do with this?
Enter Carpano Bianco, the dry, white vermouth entry from the folks that make my lifeline, Carpano Antica Formula. These vermouths have been around for centuries, and were in fact, some of the founding fathers of the vermouth craze.
Carpano Bianco is the latest kid on the block here in the U.S., granted permanent immigration status in 2013. As I am somewhat of a stickler for craft vermouth to use in both my ockctails as well as on the rocks, I was curious to try the latest iteration.
Created from a base wine of Trebbiano, Cortese, and Chardonnay, you can taste the spice rack that it is infused with. Cloves, ginger, hyssop, and a secret ingredient that may be wormwood, sagebrush and / or mugwort all lend to the beautiful citrus driven floral aperitif. I really enjoy the candied tangerine and ginger notes, and simply pouring a splash over ice is a lovely after work drink. Add in your favorite sparkling wine, and a thing of beauty is born.
I tried it in several cocktails with various results, and here are my favorites:
Carpano Bianco lends itself perfectly to a Negroni. While I do not use Campari as a matter of personal taste, I love Cynar or Cappelletti in my Negronis. I also find a floral and strongly flavored gin also works better with Bianco
- 2 parts Old Hollywood Ginn (Napa Valley Distillery)
- 1 part Carpano Bianco
- 1/2 – 1 part Cynar
Serve over ice. You can adjust your proportions to personal taste but this intensely floral and spicy drink is a wonderful way to end the workday and get ready for dinner.
A simple variation on a Manhattan (my drink of choice), a Brooklyn calls for dry vermouth instead of sweet, while the Perfect Martini calls for both.
- 1 part Carpano Bianco
- 2 parts rye whiskey (or bourbon if you prefer). I am a fan of Redemption Rye
- Shake or stir over ice and serve up with a cherry or lemon twist
This simple recipe calls for 50% sweet vermouth, and 50% dry. My variation adds in some bitters, like orange or rhubarb, and add a slice of lemon. Served over ice, it’s a delicious treat.
Shaken, Not Stirred
Is there anything better than a gin martini? Perhaps a vodka martini if you’re that kind of girl (or guy) but the gin martini is a thing of beauty. As I mentioned, Bianco works the best with a floral, citrus driven vermouth, so in this case I used Spirit Works gin.
In a martini glass or coupe, add 1/2 oz of Carpano Bianco. Most purists suggest only kissing the glass with the vermouth, but I say give it a healthy swirl so it coats the inside. Then, if you like toss the rest in your shaker.
- Add 3 oz Spirit Works gin over ice. I really like the citrus and floral flavors in this clean gin, and find they work very well with Carpano Bianco.
- 1 dash of aged citrus bitters
- shake shake shake Sonora shake it over ice (yes, I am a shaken not stirred gal)
Serve up in your previously prepared Martini glass.
Carpano Bianca is inexpensive at ~$22 for a one liter bottle, and is best enjoyed in under a month. Storing it in the refrigerator prolongs the life, but for god’s sake — warm it to room temp before using it!
Thank you to the Baddish Group and Carpano for supplying the hooch; all creativity is inspired by the ingredients within!