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Jun 1, 2011 11:09 PM

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.

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    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.
     | 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? 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: a great drink (and maybe the only good one on their (Ames') list, imo


                      Here's one more mixing rum w/ amaro:

                      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.

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                        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

                            How bout


                            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.