Two Classic Cocktails Featuring Carpano Vermouths

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Trendy drinks come and go, but classic cocktails stand the test of time. One of the most distinguished classics, the Manhattan, originated in New York City in the 1860’s-70’s. Though there are several common variations, the classic recipe is made with American rye whiskey, Italian sweet vermouth, Angostura bitters, and a maraschino cherry.

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I’ve made a version with period-correct ingredients; Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey, Carpano Antica Formula vermouth, and I chose dark morello cherries instead of maraschinos for their tartness and to enhance the stone fruit and cherry notes in the vermouth.

Carpano Antica Formula is made in Italy in small batches according to the original 1786 recipe, from rich southern Italian wines, mountain herbs, and other botanicals. The formula has remained secret for centuries by requiring three people, each of whom knows only part of the recipe, working together in its creation. With complex notes of vanilla, star anise, orange peel, stone fruit, and dates, Italians most often enjoy it over ice with a lemon twist, but it is the perfect base for mixing up an Americano, Negroni, or the subject of this week’s Friday Night Cocktail, the classic Manhattan.

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This post is the first in a series of Friday Night Cocktails that I will be bringing to you every Friday; I’ll try to stick to commonly available ingredients, but if you’ll need something special, I’ll be sure to post a day early to give you a chance to get what you need!

To read more about Carpano Antica Formula, and where you can buy it, please visit

The Manhattan
makes 1 cocktail

2 oz. Bourbon (I prefer Four Roses)
2 oz. Antica Formula sweet vermouth (if you prefer dry substitute Carpano Dry)
3 dashes Angostura bitters
1 oz. Dark Morello cherry juice
1 dark morello cherry for garnish

Place first four ingredients in a shaker without ice and shake to mix. Pour into a coupe and garnish with a cherry. Cheers!

Dry Martini

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Martini recipes dating back to the 1860’s refer to equal parts gin and vermouth, but the cocktail first became famous in the 1920’s when it contained dry gin and white vermouth mixed 2:1. In the century since then the formula has gradually changed, reducing the proportion of vermouth to as little as 50:1, and sometimes as little as a single drop, with aficionados claiming that merely raising a glass of gin in the general direction of Italy is the perfect dry Martini. The trend seems to be permanent, and bartenders today seem trained to use vermouth in the smallest possible dosage, to the disappointment of those who actually enjoy the original.

Garnished with a twist of lemon or a green olive, shaken or stirred, it must always be served ice cold. Cheers!

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Dry Martini
makes 1 cocktail

2 oz. fine Gin (I like Koval, which thankfully is also availble in large bottles)
1 oz. Carpano Dry Vermouth
2 ice cubes
1 large green olive or lemon twist as garnish

Place the ice cubes in a shaker and add the gin and dry vermouth and shake! Pour into a martini glass, garnish and serve immediately!

Featured Products
Carpano Antica Formula
Carpano Dry Vermouth
Angostura® Aromatic Bitters
Epicurean Cutting Board
Viski Admiral: Liquor Decanter
Viski Old Kentucky Home: Hammered Copper Cocktail Shaker
True Fabrications Irving: Airplane Stir Sticks

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