Negroni Week News

History Lesson: Cinzano Vermouth

May 31, 2018

The story of Cinzano vermouth first began in the mid-1700s, when the entrepreneurial spirit and passion of brothers Carlo Stefano and Giovanni Giacomo Cinzano ignited the first chapters of Cinzano’s 260 year story. Working side by side on the family’s vineyards in Pecetto (nestled in the hills of Torino, Piedmont), the brothers combined the family’s winemaking heritage with tenacity to establish the timeless qualities at the heart of Cinzano vermouth.

As The House of Savoy was transforming Torino into a modern European capital, in July 1742 Carlo Stefano passed his final exam at the Academy of Distillers and Confectioners. The road to becoming a master distiller and confectioner was long and expensive. After a five-year workshop apprenticeship, the aspiring confectioner was called before the members of the Academy, a board of experts, to prove he was able to prepare all the basic formulations perfectly—using ingredients and tools procured at his own expense. This diploma granted him the right to have a bottega, workshop, hire workers, and take on apprentices. Then to acquire the license needed to produce and sell products, he had to obtain additional approval of the Protomedico, a health inspector at the University of Torino. The Protomedico would check that each candidate’s liquors were safe and compliant with hygiene guidelines.

Using the alchemical art of processing sugar to preserve fruit, Carlo Stefano’s confectionary store (located on the iconic Dora Grossa street) offered an array of candy, jelly and pralines, alongside syrups, alcohol preparations and liqueurs, all of which were in-demand among the local gentry. The store’s central location and affluent clientele allowed Stefano to experiment with new recipes and techniques that would appeal to locals palates and their appreciation for local specialities, including aromatized wines and distilled liqueurs. Beginning his quest by infusing and sweetening his wine concoctions, Stefano’s pursuit of innovation soon led to the creation of his own signature vermouth; the secret formula that still forms the base Cinzano vermouth.

Today, Cinzano is used around the world, and the vermouth trend is growing quickly, especially among bartenders. The popularity of classic cocktails has seen a new wave of bartenders turn to vermouth in an effort to revisit classic recipes with modern twists, like this Negroni variation from Leo Robitschek.

TASTING NOTES

Cinzano Rosso: Cinzano Rosso is the original of Cinzano’s vermouth portfolio. On the nose, it is an aromatic mix of vanilla and black cherry, with a hint of creamy caramel. The flavor is smooth, with a subtle hint of initial sweetness, opening to spices and complex bitterness, before a botanical finish.

Cinzano Bianco: On the nose, this vermouth yields aromas of white peach, flower blossom, marjoram and thyme. The flavor has hints of fruit, vanilla bean and cinnamon, with a bittersweet finish. Enjoy it straight as an apéritif or as an ingredient in a cocktail. Winner of 2018 World Vermouth Awards: Silver Medal.

Cinzano Extra Dry: A delicately flavored, extra dry vermouth that can be enjoyed straight or with ice or mixed in cocktails. It has a fresh aroma of mint, sage and oregano with a hint of spice, and the flavor is herbal with a crisp, mildly bitter finish. Winner of 2018 World Vermouth Awards.

Cinzano 1757 Rosso: This vermouth has a characteristic sweet, fragrant, full flavor, with notes of vanilla, dried fruit and wormwood. Perfect for mixing in a Negroni or Manhattan. Winner of 2018 World Vermouth Awards: Gold Medal.

Cinzano 1757 Bianco: Aromas and flavors of fresh herbs, lemon and spice make for a sweet, fragrant vermouth. Perfect in cocktails or served on the rocks.

Cinzano 1757 Dry: This vermouth is bittersweet and finishes dry. It is light and floral with a fragrant nose. Crystal clear with green hues, the flavors are rife with notes of aromatic herbs.