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Noilly Prat to Change Formula for U.S. Market

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  1. Though disappointed, I must admit that I look forward to tasting it.

    1. I can't wait. Saw the article in Imbibe last issue. As soon as I see those new bottles come in, I'm planning a side-by-side comparison.

      1. It arrived by first of the year in Florida (why? I don't know, we're usually last), so I've experimented a little bit with it. I'm not a huge martini drinker (prefer to substitute lillet), but I will say this. It does not have that vermouth "punch" that I so dislike in Martini Rossi and the like. It's subtler and disappears in the drinks very quickly, requiring more vermouth IMO than other brands.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Icantread

          Surprisingly, Florida is one of the largest and best markets for liquor in the country and they usually get things right away. Usually at about the same time as NY or CA, the other biggest markets.

          1. re: JMF

            Really? And yet I have a hard time finding all sorts of things. Selections of bitters are negligible (angostura more and more as of late, but that's it). Carpano Antico - can't remember seeing it. Rye? I get giddy every time I see a bottle.

            I will say St. Germain made it in right away. All manners of vodkas, gins, bourbons, scotches, rums and tequilas are easily available.

        2. Saw a bottle in Chicago while visiting my the rents (where I scored a bottle of Carpano Antica Formula!). Waiting for it in Cambridge, MA.

          1. Most Americans don't care about vermouth anyway; they're drinking their vodka "martinis" nearly unadulterated, perhaps with a jolt of olive brine. I remember reading with chagrin a quote from some local restaurateur who claimed to know something about cocktails; he was bragging about the lack of vermouth in his vodka martinis. Chilled vodka ain't a cocktail, in my book.

            I always welcome another vermouth, have always kept 5 or 6 brands on hand to play with. My current preference in my not-at-all-dry martinis is Vya dry, but I've been gratified to see more varieties in Boston bars. I've been enjoying Dolin, a tasty French line, over at Drink. They have the dry and the slightly-sweeter blanc (akin to an Italian bianco), both interesting products. Anyone know where those are available at retail in Greater Boston, if anywhere?

            Now if only we can get Antica Formula distributed here. My last bottle from New York is long gone.

            1 Reply
            1. re: MC Slim JB

              I still remember my first Vodka martini. I was with a group of older gentlemen and one ordered a martini with a weird brand then I heard he and the bartender wax philosophic about the merits and subtleties of the martini. Finally I said I'd have one as well. Lo and behold it was a citron vodka served up in a cocktail glass. that was an unexpected burn.

            2. I've tried the new version, and have to say that I prefer it immensely. To be honest, though, I've never cared much for dry martinis in the past, mostly because I thought the vermouth was overpowering. (In fact, I always thought it a bit funny that martini drinkers tend to compete with one another on how little vermouth they can put it one.) The new formula makes a drink that is much smoother and better balanced, imo. It's great with lemon peel especially. Imagine a Lillet martini without the sweetness.

              I've been making them all week.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jda

                It is smoother and better balanced, but I've had some clashing between the vermouth and botanicals in the gin.

              2. My father (a "very dry Beefeaters Martini straight up with a twist" guy) is very upset and has been forced to abandon Noilly Prat. Is there a place to get the original version? It would make a nice present for his upcoming birthday.

                3 Replies
                1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                  Most liquor stores should still have it in stock. It only started shipping within the last couple weeks.

                  1. re: mrgrotto

                    I just bought one bottle of the "old" NP for posterity's sake.

                2. The same WSJ article turned up on the New England board. Here's my take.

                  I think Eric Felten's Chicken Little act over the "loss" of the Noilly Prat that Americans have known for the past 50 years is completely off-the-mark.

                  In fact, that Maugham quote he runs up the flagpole -- "Noilly Prat is a necessary component of a dry martini." -- was penned in the late 50's, while Maugham was in France, according to cocktail historian Gary Regan. Thus, this sacrosanct quote is likely extolling the virtues of the very same European-formula bottling now making its return to the U.S. market, not the one departing us.

                  Cocktail enthusiasts are giddy about this new release.

                  • Here's Regan's taste-test and commentary, in his Buy-Back column:

                  I'd note that he points out the newly released NP dry vermouth DOES demand that you pair it with a ballsy, juniper-forward Gin. Anchor Steam's Junipero is named as an example.

                  Also... one bit of consolation for any home-mixologists who are wringing their hands over the loss of their favorite vermouth, but have never refrigerated it: Worry not, you're already used to drinking bad vermouth.

                  1. When are they going to bring NP Ambre into the US? I'd drink a lot of that.