I’m all in for new spirits and new wines. But sometimes we reach for the classics.
As a fan of aperitivos, Martini & Rossi Bitter aperitivo is a favorite at the bar, not too sweet or bitter. During recent travels, I’ve bumped into several fun ways to serve Martini & Rossi Bitter and Vermouth products.
The unexpected link to Martini & Rossi began while planning a trip to Piedmont, Italy. I veered off my usual itinerary of Barolo-centric wineries and stopped in Turin. The brief capital of Italy after the country unified and first home to the Italian car industry, Turin is also the birthplace of Martini & Rossi in 1863.
The rapid growth of famed Martini & Rossi Rosso (red) and Bianco (white) vermouths in the late 1890s led to a move for larger facilities in the nearby village of Pessione, a 20-minute train ride or 45-minute drive from Turin. I jumped at the opportunity to explore Martini& Rossi’s headquarters, called Casa Martini.
At Casa Martini you can attend mixology masterclasses and vermouth masterclasses and take self-guided and guided tours of the exceptional wine museum. The museum displays many treasures from fermentation secrets of the ancients to historic wine bottles and serving accoutrements of wine. A few rooms are devoted to the storied history of Martini & Rossi. The firm made beverage history with its high-design ads and then association with car racing. Innovation continues with the release of sparkling rosé to the company’s sparkling wine portfolio.
The best part of my visit was a one-on-one session with master mixologist Adriano Ronco who stirred up several of his favorite cocktails.
Enjoy these creative cocktails with your favorite snacks before, during and after dinner.
Among the many cocktails Master Mixologist Ronco shared are the Kiwitini and The Gold. The kiwi adds freshness and color to the martini. The Ambrato Vermouth made from Moscato d’Asti brings a honeyed, nectar-like profile to the cocktail which was devised for a Dolce & Gabanno event.
by Adriano Ronco, Martini & Rossi
- Chill a martini glass. Muddle the following together:
- 4 pieces kiwi
- lime juice
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Add 1.5 parts Martini & Rossi Vermouth Bianco (white)
- Stir and fill with ice. Garnish with lime.
by Adriano Ronco, Martini & Rossi
- 2 parts Martini & Rossi Ambrato Riserva Dry Vermouth
- 2 parts Martini & Rossi or other Prosecco
- 1 part St. Germain Elderflower liqueur
- Stir, Add ice. Sprinkle gold flakes on top, optional
from Norwegian Cruise Line
On a recent Norwegian Joy cruise, I spoke to Mark Fine, the director of beverage at Norwegian Cruise Line, about the cocktail program on the floating hospitality venues. When asked Martini & Rossi products, Fine’s immediately ordered a Jackhammer to demonstrate the versatility of Martini & Rossi Rosso. The Bourbon-based cocktail appeals to whiskey lovers and others.
As a non-fan of Bourbon, I found the drink surprisingly appealing. The Bourbon was balanced by the smooth, slightly sweet Vermouth and the slightly bitter Amaro digestif. Norwegian makes ‘barrel’ batches of the cocktail in a large plastic container with a small wood stave to enhance the flavors. At home take a standard glass or plastic container and add some oak inserts such as a stick or spiral. It takes about a week to infuse the barrel-aged taste.
- 2 parts Woodford Reserve Bourbon
- 1.75 parts Martini & Rossi Rosso
- 1 part Averno
- A few drops Fee Brothers orange bitters and Peychaud’s barrel-aged bitters
- Chill a whiskey glass. Add ingredients. Stir and add ice. Garnish with lemon.
at Oveja Negra, Hotel Valenica, San Jose, Calif.
A recent overnight at the Hotel Valencia on Santana Row in San Jose brought another multilayered classic cocktail with a new twist. At the hotel’s Oveja Negra restaurant, the Negroni follows the classic mix of gin, aperitivo and sweet vermouth. This smooth Negroni caught my attention with its hint of oak aging. The restaurant blends and ages the Negronis and other cocktails in small barrels at the bar.
- 1 part Nolet gin
- 1 part Campari or other aperitivo
- 1 part Martini & Rossi Rosso
- Dash of Angostura Orange Bitters
- Stir with ice (not shaken). Garnish with lemon and serve
by Tiffanie Barriere
Here is a recipe from Tiffanie Barriere, an Atlanta based cocktail consultant. Barriere tapped into products she works with from the Perfect Purée Co. in Napa, Calif. The Perfect Purée Co. sells premium fruit and vegetable purées with no artificial additives, preservatives or colorings online.
- Barriere adopted the recipe from use in slushy machines. I agree with Barriere that the Hey Ya! is tart, boozy and refreshing.
- 1 ounce Martini& Rossi Bitter
- 1 ounce Perfect Purée Yuzu Sour or Blood Orange or other fruit purée
- 1.5 ounce Vodka or Gin
- .75 ounce St Germain Elderflower
- Stir and fill with ice. Garnish with lemon or orange.