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Best cocktails to showcase CArpano Antica?

Walked into the liquor store looking for Punt e Mes, walked out with this. $36 vermouth!! I'd like to make it last, use it in drinks where it'll work to its best advantage. Suggestions?

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  1. Actually, you may want to drink it up, rather than make it last. I refrigerate it and evacuate it with a Vac-u-vin to help. The liter takes a while to finish up at home.

    Some will disagree (StriperGuy, I'm thinking of you), but I like it just about everything -- Manhattan, Negroni, etc. It's also delicious straight, or mixed with another aromatized wine -- dry vermouth, Bonal Gentiane Quina, or with fino sherry. If I want something really light, I might add a bit of seltzer and a squeeze of lemon.

    For something made specifically for Carpano Antica Forumla, Kyle Davidson posted this himself. It's spectacular:

    Col. Carpano
    by Kyle Davidson, The Violet Hour, Chicago

    1 1/2 oz Cynar
    1 1/2 oz Bourbon, Buffalo Trace
    3/4 oz Sweet vermouth, Carpano Antica Formula
    2 ds Peychaud's Bitters
    1 twst Orange peel

    Combine in a mixing glass then add large ice cubes. Stir then strain over large ice. Garnish with an orange peel expressed and inserted.

    My comments: Absolutely delicious. The small amount of CAF is apparent. Nice lingering bitter. Made with Knob Creek. I think a high-proof bourbon helps.

    www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

    21 Replies
    1. re: EvergreenDan

      That's pretty close to a Boulevardier, which would be one of my first suggestions. I also love it in a Manhattan, especially with Rittenhouse 100 (they play very nicely together). You may want to use a bit less vermouth, though; I tend to go 3-to-1 or even 4-to-1 instead of my usual 2-to-1.

      nd there's nothing wrong with sipping it straight, or in a spritzer.

      1. re: EvergreenDan

        Right Hand

        Created by Michael McIlroy of Milk and Honey and Little Branch. Executed properly, this cocktail is perfectly balanced with an amazing vanilla finish. 2007.

        1 1/2 oz Aged Rum (Matusalem Gran Reserva)

        3/4 oz Carpano Antica

        3/4 oz Campari

        2 dashes Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters

        Stir and serve up in a cocktail glass

        1. re: barleywino

          I would NOT want to have rum with either CA or Campari. Just clashy flavors with the rum.

            1. re: StriperGuy

              StriperGuy -- I'm not sure I can change your mind, but try a Bitter Mai Tai (or two). I thought the first one I drank was just weird -- mixing an elegant Italian amaro (think linen suit and stylish fedora) with a tropical spirit and flavorings (think ratty cut-offs and a drink umbrella). I came around on the second one and decided it was like good fusion cuisine.
              www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

              1. re: EvergreenDan

                "Like Good Fusion Cuisine..."

                Not sure that actually exists. ;-)

                1. re: StriperGuy

                  Saw that coming as I was typing it. ;-)

                  Better not mix that 'mericin whiskey with any of the crazy furrin stuff like Campari or vermouth. or bitters;-) Hey, maybe you could start blogging? cocktailcurmudgeon.com seems available. ;-p

                  (All in good fun, for those that don't know SG and me.)

                  1. re: EvergreenDan

                    I do some pretty funky whacky cocktails on my own:


                    Just certain things don't mix very well if you ask me. I am a very adventurous cook and cocktail maker, but have a pretty decent palate for what does, and does not work.

                    Averna in a Mojito. Not for me.

                    I've had a 1/2 dozen drinks where they attempted to use Fernet Branca... I find even in minute quantities all I taste is... wait for it... Fernet Branca.

                    Is there a fusion resto that you like? Not sure I've ever eaten at one, and I've eaten at far too many.

                    1. re: StriperGuy

                      here's another: http://www.kindredcocktails.com/cockt... a great drink (and maybe the only good one on their (Ames') list, imo


                      Here's one more mixing rum w/ amaro: http://www.imbibemagazine.com/Smoking...

                      fusion restaurants is a whole separate thread...ever try Alan Wongs in Honolulu?

                      1. re: barleywino

                        Not sure either of those cocktails appeals to me, but next time I am in Honolulu...

                      2. re: StriperGuy

                        I agree -- and disagree -- about Fernet. The Golden Gate Swizzle from Anvil, for example, uses Fernet as the base "spirit", yet the orgeat and lemon come through strongly. I'd be interested to hear your reaction to my Bernet Frankenstein. It's three hugely-powerful flavors in one drink. I think they are balanced, but incredible intense. (Islay, Punt e Mes, Fernet).

                        Of course using Fernet in any quantity will make it apparent, and substituting it for something else (Averna, for example) will create a very Fernet-domniated cocktail. Nothing wrong with just a dash of Fernet, either. I had a Maximillian Affair with a Fernet dash and loved it.

                        I think cuisines can "borrow" from each other successfully. Ming Tsai comes to mind.

                        www.kindredcocktail.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

                        1. re: EvergreenDan

                          Porteno is another great drink that uses Fernet. But I don't think you'll convince SG; it's clear from many threads that his tastes tend toward minimalist whereas yours and mine tend toward bigger flavors. I suspect that SG is a supertaster and that you and I are both nontasters, which would explain our differences in tolerance for and enjoyment of extremes.

                          I do think the curmudgeon domain sounds like a very nice fit :-)

                          1. re: davis_sq_pro

                            I think I need something broader then just cocktailcurmudgeon.com

                            How bout chowcurmudgeon.com?


                            On the cocktail note, I find myself increasingly making fairly essential cocktails.

                            For many years I have purchased my own essential oils and made cologne myself. Now I am more or less doing the same thing with cocktails.

                            My SO basically said that I am more or less drinking cologne now. And there is some truth to that.

                            I really enjoy playing with blends of cachaca, rum, botanicals, gin, citrus extracts, chile, and fresh fruit juices.

                            Secretly I really want to take over the bar at Floating Rock and craft cocktails that really support the food.

                            1. re: davis_sq_pro

                              BTW, I suspect I'm a regular taster. I can tolerate some spicy food, but I can't come close to anything super spicy (like Hell Night at the East Coast Grill in Cambridge, MA). There's a story about sharing a Hot Sausage from Hell with my brother. If you have a brother, you'll understand the competitiveness. Burned three times.

                              I'd think that if I were a non-taster I could take hotter food.

                              1. re: EvergreenDan

                                See I can eat crazy hot stuff... To the extent that I am often at dinner, munching along, and everyone else is suffering.

                                1. re: EvergreenDan

                                  From what I've read, supertaster/non-taster/etc has no direct correlation with ability to handle heat. And while I currently like extremely hot foods, that was not always the case. Five or six years ago I considered Frank's Red Hot to be quite spicy. My wife and I wanted to try Hell Night without getting our proverbial asses handed to us, so we decided to train up.

                                  To accomplish this we simply bought a range of hot sauces and peppers and started using them almost every night, slowly building up and challenging ourselves. The approach worked quite well, to the point where after a year or so we were able to handle hotter foods than even some Korean and Indian friends. So if you want to best your brother, it seems to me that there are options :-)

                                  Unfortunately after all of that I haven't yet made it to a Hell Night! I need to give that sausage a try!

                                  1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                    Huh, interesting to know. Hell night, hotness purely for hotness sake does not really interest me. That said I can eat Thai, or Cambodian or Mexican food that is just blazing.

                                    Kind of amazing that you went from Franks, to really eating hot stuff in a short period of time. I knew you could get accustomed to heat, but that is pretty dramatic.

                                    1. re: StriperGuy

                                      I've never been, but the East Coast Grill in Cambridge has a special night with a special menu. It fills up fast. They serve their spicier dishes and make special dishes. They aren't hot for the sake of being hot, as I understand it, but rather for the flavors of the peppers. Lots of habeneros. And they have a few things that aren't hot. Sounds like you would like it. Their regular menu is delicious, although not as cutting edge as it was when they first opened. I think they were one of the first places around to serve seared tuna. Long time ago.

                                      I guess I was wrong about sensitivity to spice versus tasterosity. I thought that I read that spiciness was sensed on the same receptors as taste, so I assumed that the quantity of the receptors would correlate.

                                      1. re: EvergreenDan

                                        I agree, generally speaking I am a huge ECG fan. Great food carefully prepared.

                            2. re: StriperGuy

                              Try a Toronto. Use a powerful rye like Rittenhouse, and you have a rich, complex, and fantastic whiskey cocktail in which the Fernet contributes a lot, but does not overtake the drink.

                        2. re: EvergreenDan

                          A mojito w/ Averna added is another example-- the Averna gives it some depth and bitter complexity

                  2. It makes a fantastic manhattan with High West Rye and some decent bitters. I also like it very much in a martinez cocktail (Old Tom gin, carpano, Cointreau, orange round, aromatic bitters or orange bitters, served up).

                    1 Reply
                    1. You might try this. I haven't made it, but I want to very badly!

                      1. Yah, I prefer it chilled, neat. To my taste it overwhelms a Manhattan and all you taste is the CA.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: StriperGuy

                          5 hours to the minute. You're slipping. ;-)

                            1. re: StriperGuy

                              I'm starting to think you are right, that the Carpano doesn't always do well in Manhattans. I did some tasting last night at Rye House in NYC and found the Carpano completely overwhelmed Whistle Pig rye, and for a $19 cocktail, that was a shame. But Rittenhouse 100 stands up to the Carpano pretty good.

                              1. re: JMF

                                Hah, I'm not actually a Rittenhouse 100 fan (again too much punch for my palate), but I actually think that I might LIKE a Rittenhouse, CA Manhattan. A tad on the ballsy side, my preference is leaner and drier.

                                But I can see enjoying the punch of that combo once in a while.

                                1. re: JMF

                                  Drinking a Carpano and Rittenhouse Manhttan right now and I think the Rittenhouse holds up terrifically. A fantastic cocktail!

                          1. Negroni. Sometimes you might want to dial back the CA as it has more taste than regular vermouth.

                            1. I enjoy it straight (albeit NOT chilled), and in what a local bar calls a "Venetian Martini" . . . gin martini, with a higher ratio of Carpano Antica to gin than the typical dry martini, and -- although the bar serves with with a long, thin strand of lemon peel, I prefer orange peel when I make it at home.

                              3 Replies
                                1. re: zin1953

                                  That sounds basically like what a martini recipe was back in the late 19th / early 20th century before dry vermouth started being used for a martini.

                                  1. re: JMF

                                    Yup, and it's darned good -- at least my wife and I think so . . .

                                2. 1919 cocktail with CA substituted for Punt e Mes

                                  1. I taste milk chocolate in Carpano Antica, which I thought would work well with the cinnamon notes in Amaro Meletti. Thus was born the...

                                    Patent Pending
                                    2 oz rye
                                    1/2 oz Carpano Antica
                                    1/2 oz Amaro Meletti
                                    2 dashes Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters

                                    3 Replies
                                      1. re: dfan

                                        Nardini Amaro has even more chocolate (and mint), try it!

                                        1. re: dfan

                                          I tried it with Punt e Mes (because I had it open -- I alternate open bottles) and liked it. I used one dash of bitters as I find them potent.

                                          I think that Meletti has the gestalt of chocolate all on its own, BTW.

                                        2. I third the Martinez, but not with Old Tom. Too sweet-sweet for me. And no orange round, but an orange or lemon twist is okay. Play around with the ratios until you find one you like!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: tokyopix

                                            Yeah, by round I actually meant a round cut of orange peel, but I guess that was misleading...

                                          2. I just made a negroni style cocktail with Carpano Antica and campari but instead of gin I used a dark rum, roughly equal parts, it's kind of like adding flavor to flavor, the gin usually gets lost when you use CA anyway, so why not add something instead, it's turning out delicious, and a little sweeter than your average negroni for anyone who thinks a negroni can be too medicinal tasting.

                                            1. Just made this one, from Robert Hess's indispensable book, The Essential Bartender's Guide.

                                              Tango Cocktail

                                              .5 oz Rum (I used Cruzan aged white)
                                              .5 oz Benedictine
                                              .5 oz Dry vermouth (Dolin)
                                              .5 oz fresh squeezed OJ (yes, it needs to be fresh squeezed)
                                              .5 oz red vermouth (Carpano)

                                              Shake ingredients with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glas. Garnish with an orange twist.

                                              This is a really odd looking collection of ingredients, but it all works together wonderfully to produce a spicy, complex, low alcohol cocktail in which the Carpano takes center stage. Not sure how it would taste with a less bitter, herbally red vermouth, but based on the one I just made, this drink seems tailor-made to showcase Carpano.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: The Big Crunch

                                                I love equal parts cocktails. There is something about the symmetry (both definitions) I guess. I think that sounds like a great cocktail. It is rare that fresh OJ really works in a cocktail. I can see all the other ingredients making a great stirred cocktail.

                                                1. re: JMF

                                                  I completely agree about orange juice in cocktails. I'm particularly averse to anything with gin and orange juice, however, it works out alright in the Tango. I mixed up a couple of Ward Eights the night before and also thought it worked well in that drink, though there is also an equal amount of lemon juice in a Ward Eight to strengthen up the citrus component of the drink - OJ by itself usually just makes a drink seem flat and poorly diluted.

                                                  1. re: The Big Crunch

                                                    " OJ by itself usually just makes a drink seem flat and poorly diluted."


                                                    Although commercial "pasteurized" juice works better than fresh OJ. But, after reading "Squeezed" I know that it isn't really OJ.

                                                    1. re: JMF

                                                      I saw a story a year or two back about how commercial OJ is made. I figured it had to be something like that, and I love the taste of the stuff in the morning, so unless they start adding something like the blood of newborn kittens to the product, I'm going to keep drinking it.

                                                      The thing about fresh squeezed OJ is that it is generally less sour, with what tastes like a weaker acidity. As a result, it easily gets its butt kicked in a cocktail without additional help.

                                                      The Tango is not looking for a sour dilution component to offset the booze, but it does benefit from the additional sweet fruit flavor that fresh squeezed delivers better than commercial. In a Ward 8, you have lemon juice there to boost the sour and the fresh squeezed OJ once again is there for sweet citrus flavor. However, in something like a Monkey Gland, the OJ gets gets overwhelmed and the gin feels poorly diluted. I hate Monkey Glands. The only halfway decent version I've had was the recipe from the PDT book which uses pomegranate molasses, which produces a more balanced, but still underwhelming cocktail.