Perhaps you've heard. Vermouth is hot. For this we have a new school of bartending to thank. Mixologists have been scouring for more variety to take their Negronis and Manhattans to new heights. Or perhaps that should be old heights, because many non-mainstream vermouths have been around for a long time. Smaller, historic brands are surfacing in North America, in some cases for the first time.
This one, from northern Italy's Piedmont region, is excellent. The colour is clear amber-brown, which is to say relatively light compared with the dominant brands. The nose shouts chinotto, the soft drink sometimes described as Italian root beer. On the palate, it's medium-bodied, suggesting a combination of chinotto and cola, with overtones of peppermint, clove and allspice. Well-tuned with fresh acidity. Try it on the rocks with a slice of orange or in a light Manhattan, with Canadian or Irish whisky rather than American rye or bourbon.