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Rating
96.00
Price
$21.95

Vermouth – it usually comes from France or Italy and is often based on cheap, bulk wine shipped north in containers from places like Sicily. This is a more distinguished treat, relying on fine Spanish sherry for the wine component and aromatized with such classic ingredients as wormwood, cinnamon, cinchona bark and orange. Medium sweet, it's richer than the big brands and yet, to my taste, more sippable on its own (preferably on the rocks) than even top-notch Italian brand Carpano Antica Formula, which costs more than twice the price.

The layered experience delivers notes of cola, raisin, ginger, leather and roasted nuts and the texture is smooth. Try it in a Manhattan cocktail. A colleague of mine who sampled it mentioned he was reminded of the (presumably enticing) aroma of his old moccasins. It made sense to me even if the only encounter with a moccasin was at a "trading post" off the highway en route to the cottage when I was a boy. I'm inclined to be more generic in my summary and call it a Christmas cake in apéritif form.

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