Vermouth may be having a renaissance moment in the modern craft cocktail scene, but don’t call it a comeback: it’s been here for years. (Decades, really.) The fortified wine we know and love has been an integral component in some of the most fundamental recipes of the cocktail canon — many of which were resurrected to even greater heights by intrepid bartenders in the decades following Prohibition.
And, after more than 250 years in the business, Cinzano has been around for all of it, from the day the Negroni made its debut in Florence to the first Manhattan slung on Broadway. So, we asked our friends at the storied Italian vermouth brand to help us put some of these classics on their proper pedestals. Below, just a small handful of the vermouth cocktails that paved the way:
1. The Negroni
Sometimes a bartender creates a drink, and sometimes a customer does. In this case, the Negroni was created at Bar Casoni in Florence sometime in the early 1920s when Count Camillo Negroni ordered an Americano — sweet vermouth, Campari and club soda — with gin in place of soda. It’s also worth noting that Count Camillo Negroni loved the American “wild west” to the point that he was often seen in full cowboy regalia.
- 1 ¼ ounce gin
- 1 ounce Campari
- ¾ Cinzano Rosso Vermouth
Add ice and ingredients to glass and stir until chilled. Garnish with an orange peel.
2. The Martini
Asking about the origin of the Martini may result in a very long and confusing string of explanations. It’s hard to say that the Martini was ever really “created.” Rather, this most iconic of cocktails evolved between 1882 and 1910, surviving a dozen variations on its name and ingredients, with the only binding factor being the presence of Gin and Vermouth.
- 1 ounce Cinzano Extra Dry Vermouth
- 3 ounces Gin
Add ice and ingredients to a mixing glass and stir until chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a twist or olives.
3. The Adonis
This cocktail was named after the 1884 Broadway show by William Gill called “Adonis,” often cited as the first Broadway musical. While the show was in production, the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel created this cocktail in its honor.
- 2 oz. Fino Sherry
- 2 oz. Cinzano Rosso Vermouth
- 2 dashes orange bitters
Add ice and ingredients to a mixing glass and stir until chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe. Twist a 1″ strip orange peel over cocktail; drop peel into glass.
4. The Manhattan
There are a handful of legends around its origin, but we defer to Gary Regan’s choice based on 1880s bartender William F. Mulhall’s account: “The Manhattan cocktail was invented by a man named Black, who kept a place ten doors below Houston Street on Broadway in the [eighteen-] sixties—probably the most famous drink in the world in its time.”
- 1 ounce Cinzano Rosso Vermouth
- 2 ounces Rye Whiskey
- 2 dashes Aromatic Bitters
Add ice and ingredients to a mixing glass and stir until chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with twist or a maraschino cherry.
5. Americano Cocktail
Created by Gaspare Campari at Caffè Campari in the 1860s
- 1 ½ ounce Cinzano Rosso Vermouth
- 1 ½ ounce Campari
Build directly in a highball glass on the rocks. Top with soda. Garnish with with an orange slice.
6. The Bronx Cocktail
Created by Johnny Solon in 1906 at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, and named after the newly opened Bronx Zoo. It ranked third in “The World’s 10 Most Famous Cocktails in 1934,” rivaled only by the Martini and the Manhattan.
- 2 ounces gin
- 1/2 ounce Cinzano Rosso Vermouth
- 1/2 ounce Cinzano Extra Dry Vermouth
- 1 ounce fresh orange juice
Add ice and ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake until chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with an orange peel or enjoy without a garnish.