Drink to this: Noilly Prat Dry vermouth
A quick shot: Vermouth, the French aperitif best known as an essential ingredient in the classic martini has been made by Noilly Prat since the early 19th century. This year, the original Noilly Prat formula has finally been reintroduced to the U.S..—they got rid of the previous version. The idea is to give it new life to its dry vermouth as a cocktail ingredient—a plan that stands a good chance during our current mixology renaissance.
Tastes like: A summer spent sailing off the south of France—perhaps with a Bond girl or pirates. It's a complicated flavor.
Booze factor: 18% alcohol
Bag it: $4.99/375ml bottle at Binny's
Drink deep: Noilly Prat is made from white wines from the Languedoc region, aged in oak casks outdoors for a year to simulate the incidental aging of seagoing transport (this is called l’enclos) then blended with herbs (including members of the wormword family from which vermouth gets its Germanic name).
One of the world’s foremost mixologists Ludo Miazga of London’s Milk & Honey (think a Violet Hour but the London version and more bar-like) swung through town repping the French brand a couple weeks back. Mixologists at Violet Hour, Drawing Room and New York's Death & Co. are likely to be using it in potent concoctions.
Cocktail conversation starter:
Noilly Prat has been producing a dry vermouth since 1813 in the south of France—and was run by Anne Rosine (the founder’s daughter) for forty years—making her probably the world’s first female beverage CEO. The Knickerbocker Hotel's 1911 Martini Cocktail recipe calls for Noilly Prat.
Drink in: The Dogwood Manhattan at the Violet Hour
Mixologist Troy Sidle of the Violet Hour says of his coworker's creation, “Michael Rubel’s drink breaks a lot of rules, its paying homage to the Manhattan but it is very much different from a classic Manhattan. He’s using grappa-based Amaro as the main sweetening agent and then adding Noilly Prat dry vermouth. He’s using a Bourbon, Woodford Reserve. You could argue it’s a perfect Manhattan. Its rather disconnected until he puts in his housemade peach bitters. It makes you think of the southern U.S.”
Serve: Naked on ice, or with vodka—or in a dry gin martini.
Treat like: Wine. Keep an opened bottle of Noilly Prat refrigerated. Vermouth is mainly white wine—and can go bad just easily.