EZdrinking

Searching for the world's best drinks and what makes them extraordinary.

Searching for the world's best drinks and what makes them extraordinary. EZdrinking is a drinks blog by Eric Zandona that focuses on distilled spirits, wine, craft beer and specialty coffee. Here you can find reviews of drinks, drink books, articles about current & historical trends, as well as how to make liqueurs, bitters, and other spirit based drinks at home.

Filtering by Tag: Vermouth

Negroni Variations with Aged Gin

In preparation for the upcoming Negroni Week (June  5-11, 2017) I decided to create a few Negroni variations  with some of the gin in my liquor cabinet and see how the drink changed. The classic negroni is equal parts gin, sweet vermouth and Campari. For these variations I used Alessio Vermouth di Torino Rosso, Campari and three different aged gins. 

Negroni #1: This was made using  FEW Spirits Barrel Gin (46.5% ABV) which is an aged gin distilled with an undisclosed number of botanicals which includes juniper, bitter orange and lemon peel, cassia and angelica. As a negroni the noise was woody, with fruity bubble gum notes. The Negroni tasted of sweet berries and orange with a strong whiskey character. The finish started sweet, dried out from the wood tannins and closed with notes of black pepper grapefruit zest, charcoal and menthol.

Negroni #2: This was made using High Wire Distilling Hat Trick Barrel Rested Gin (44% ABV) which is an aged gin distilled with crushed juniper berries, fresh lemon and orange peel. As a negroni, the sweet vermouth came through on nose with bright citrus from the Campari. The flavor was a dance of sweet spicy and bitter. The finish started strong with juniper and faded into bitter grapefruit and sweetness. Really nice.

Negroni #3: This was made using Old World Spirits Rusty Blade Single Barrel-Aged Gin (60% ABV) which is an aged gin distilled with 11 botanicals including cilantro, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, orange, lemon, tangerine and steamed juniper. As a negroni the nose had notes of sweet cherry and fresh orange. The cocktail tasted of maraschino cherry, sweet grapefruit, and mid palate spice notes of clove and cinnamon explode with slight bitterness. The finish was spicy dry and mildly bitter with notes of juniper and grapefruit zest.

Negroni Variations with Classic and Contemporary Gin

In preparation for the upcoming Negroni Week (June  5-11, 2017) I decided to create a few Negroni variations  with some of the gin in my liquor cabinet and see how the drink changed. The classic negroni is equal parts gin, sweet vermouth and Campari. For my variations I used Alessio Vermouth di Torino Rosso, Campari and three different gins. 

Negroni #1: This was made using Bombay London Dry Gin (43% ABV) which is a classic gin vapor distilled with Juniper, Coriander, Liquorice Root, Almonds, Lemon Peel, Cassia Bark, Orris Root,  and Angelica. As a negroni, sweet and bitter  notes were well balanced but the gin got lost under the vermouth. It had lots of herbal complexity from the wormwood and citrus, with a nice juniper finish.

Negroni #2: This was made using St. George Spirits Botanivore Gin (45% ABV) which is a contemporary gin with juniper, bay laurel and fresh cilantro in a vapor basket and angelica, bergamot peel, black peppercorn, caraway, cardamom, cinnamon, citra hops, coriander, dill seed, fennel seed, ginger, lemon peel, lime peel, orris root, Seville orange peel, and star anise macerated in the pot. As a negroni it had a strong citrus aroma on the nose, sweetness from vermouth was still very strong however the finish had a slight spicy character from the gin. Made with equal parts the negroni was slightly out of balance however, adding a touch more gin does the trick.

Negroni #3: This was made using The Spirits Guild Astral Pacific Gin (43% ABV)  which is a contemporary gin pot distilled with Juniper, coriander, angelica, cinnamon, grapefruit peel, clementine peel, orange tree leaves, pink peppercorn, pistachio, sage, and orris root in a neutral brandy made from clementines. As a negroni bright floral notes came through on the nose with a light fruity aroma almost like bubble gum. The flavors were well balanced between sweet and bitter with juniper and citrus coming through clear on the finish.

One Simple Way to Keep Your Vermouth Fresh

Vermouth is an aromatized  and fortified wine which can be drunk neat, on the rocks with a twist or in a cocktail. Aromatize refers to the fact that herbs and botanicals are added to the wine to enhance its flavor, aroma and color; fortified refers to the fact that neutral spirit, usually from grape brandy is added to increase the alcohol content which makes the vermouth more stable and last longer. However, since vermouth is based on wine, an open bottle has a shorter lifespan than say an open bottle of whiskey.

In the last few years I have grown to appreciate quite a few cocktails that call for vermouth and so I have bought a bottle from time to time. However, since I usually drink spirits neat, I've run into the problem that my open bottle of vermouth goes off before I've used it up. Because I hate to be wasteful, I've mostly given up on buying vermouth.

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In the lead up to 2016 Negroni Week I wanted to buy some vermouth to make my negronis and I didn't want it to bad after the week was over and I was done making cocktails for a while. That's when it hit me. I came up with the idea to buy four 250ml swing-top bottles from The Container Store, decant the vermouth into the smaller bottles and put them into the refrigerator. I used the first 250mls during the week making cocktails and the remaining bottles sat in the back of my refrigerator. Now, four months into this experiment I am happy to say that when I opened another small bottle, the vermouth was still fresh. Both the cold refrigerator and having little to no headspace in the smaller bottled worked together to extend the life of the vermouth that otherwise would have gone bad in that amount of time. 

I figured that every time I pour vermouth from a regular bottle some amount of oxygen gets mixed into the liquid that remains. Each time you do that, the more the vermouth sloshes around and the more oxygen gets into it. Now, if I drank vermouth or made cocktails more often this would be a problem. However, this simple and inexpensive trick of decanting full size vermouth bottles (which are less expensive per ounce) into smaller bottles has made it possible for me keep vermouth on hand at all times, waiting for me when a cocktail mood strikes. If you are like me and it has killed you to pour out bad vermouth because you were too slow to finish the bottle, give this little trick a shot.