Summertime is the perfect time to explore fortified wines, especially the Cocchi lineup! The Cocchi line can brighten up your classic cocktails you would usually drink in the cold months as well as shine as the base of low alcohol cocktails. They make a vermouth and two Americanos, and we will be diving into the differences this weekend with open bottles of all three!
Cocchi Di Torino is their 100-plus-year-old family recipe sweet vermouth, and was named Whisky Exchange’s 2014-15 Spirit of the Year. Cocchi Di Torino is dark and rich with black fruit and intricately woven herbs and spices of bitter orange, Artemisia, rhubarb and cinchona. Di Torino is not known for its bitterness like many high end sweet vermouths, but more about the spices. Cinnamon, caramelized brown sugar, bitter orange, rhubarb and cocoa dominate this vermouth making it lighter bodied for summer Manhattans and Negronis.
Cocchi Americano is a bianco or blanc, not a sweet vermouth but instead an Americano, derived from amer, or bitter gentian. While some producers have taken out many of bianco’s more bitter qualities (Lillet Blanc for example), Cocchi Americano embraces its gentian along with some of the same herbs as Di Torino: Artemisia, bitter orange and cinchona. Dominant notes of orchard fruits like peach, pear, and orange make this aperitif wine much brighter in style. It’s perfect when cut 4 to 1 with tonic or club soda, or drunk on its own before a meal with an orange rind. It’s also stellar in a vesper or as a unique twist in a Negroni instead of sweet vermouth.
Cocchi Americano Rosa: Cocchi Americano with rose petals, vanilla, and saffron added? Count us in! An Americano with added florality, weight and richness, Cocchi Rosa is the perfect pairing with anything grapefruit (Palomas with San Pellegrino and tequila anyone?), or in brighter versions of classic cocktails instead of sweet vermouth such as a Martinez or Manhattans.
Cocchi Barolo Chinato is the family’s pride and joy, a truly beautiful aromatized wine balanced between bitter and sweet with the main botanical being quinine, or cinchona. Cinchona is the main ingredient in tonic water: it is an antimalarial entity used in many curative medicines as well as spirits. Best served after dinner instead of before, it has been seen for centuries as a therapeutic wine aiding in digestion.