I’ve been researching (read: drinking) some new vermouth and other fortified wines lately. I wrote a piece for my Seattle Weekly column with some of my findings, and have continued to taste and try other brands. One of my longtime favorites is Dolin. Last summer I went through quite a bit of the Dolin Blanc, which is tasty and refreshing with some soda water and a dash of bitters or a twist. Lillet Blanc over ice with a slice of orange was another summertime favorite.
This summer hasn’t exactly been the summer to lounge on the deck in the late afternoon sun sipping long drinks. There have been maybe three balmy evenings where we wanted a cold, light and refreshing cocktail. Most of the time, we’ve wanted something a bit more boozy. Something flavorful and rich, but not too heavy on the alcohol. Enter the inverted cocktail.
I’d heard about inverted Martinis and Manhattans before. You just take the normal ratio (2 parts spirits to 1 part vermouth) and invert it. Nathan Weber, who bartends around town, was at Rob Roy when I stopped in there a couple of weeks ago. I was working on a different Seattle Weekly column I sometimes write. Nathan and I got to chatting about vermouth. He’s a big fan of Dolin as well and loves to just drink it straight. He’s also a fan of inverted Martinis and Manhattans. I had an inverted Martini there with Gordon’s gin, Dolin dry vermouth and a couple of dashes of bitters. Served up with a twist, it’s more thirst quenching than a traditional Martini, and less likely to get you tanked. Well, that depends on how many you drink I suppose….
I’ve long been a fan of Manhattans. I love them and all their variations, particularly when they are made using interesting vermouths like Carpano Antica or Punt e Mes. I met friends for happy hour at Lot No. 3 in Bellevue last week. This bar is known for its “build your own Manhattan” menu. After talking a bit to the bartender about vermouth, he pulled out a bottle of Cocchi Torino. This is said to be the original recipe of Italian vermouth first produced in 1891. It’s spicy and rich, with a clove, citrus and nutmeg aroma. He used it to make me an inverted Manhattan with Old Overholt rye. It was nutty and complex, thought not exactly refreshing. It was perfect for a grey and rainy Seattle summer day.