Let’s Get Blitzen: Cocktail Advent Calendar – Day 21 – Manhattan Royale. A ”Perfect Manhattan” employs equal parts sweet and dry vermouth for a slightly drier finish. This version is elevated to “Royal” status thanks to Antica Formula, the King of Vermouth of Italy’s highest quality.
This post is sponsored by Carpano Antica Formula.
A Manhattan is one of the best cocktails to showcase a top-quality vermouth like Antica Formula. It’s typically a three-ingredient cocktail involving rye, sweet vermouth, and bitters, often garnished with cocktail cherries.
But what *is* vermouth? Vermouth is an aromatic, fortified wine, created with herbs and botanicals. Vermouth receives its characteristic taste from artemisia, the most crucial ingredient in any vermouth. In addition to the inclusion of artemisia, vermouth must be composed of at least 75% wine, and have an alcoholic volume of between 14.5-22%. Antonio Benedetto Carpano was the inventor of vermouth and named it such as the word “vermouth” is inspired by the German word “wermuth” for wormwood.
Carpano created the recipe for modern vermouth (what is now Antica Formula) at his small wine shop in Turin, Italy back in 1786. His studies as an herbalist led to a unique mix of herbs and spices and the creation of Antica Formula which we’ve enjoyed over four centuries.
Today, Antica Formula is produced in limited quantities and packaged in prestigious blown glass bottles. Sealed with a cork, the bottle is enclosed in a prestigious packaging. The label is the reproduction of the original from 1786.
In colour, Antica Formula is light brown with an amber hue. On the nose, a bouquet of vanilla emerges which comes together with notes of spices, citrus and dried fruits like raisins and cloves. To the palate a rich vanilla taste emerges, with hints of bitter orange, dates, cocoa beans, cherries and saffron.
Antica Formula’s unmistakable taste is the result of a strictly controlled production process, prepared according to a recipe originally founded in 1786. Selected wines from Italian grapes are processed with herbs chosen from around the world for their excellence. These include vanilla beans from Madagascar, Papua New Guinea and Tahiti, precious saffron mainly from the plateau areas in Iran, and wormwood from the Alps of Piedmont. They are carefully extracted and refined for up to several months in a process that infuses and intensifies the flavours, to create the authentic taste of Antica Formula. A journey through the unique nuances of history over the course of four centuries.
Try it on ice with an orange peel, as an aperitif or after dinner. It’s the main ingredient in cocktails such as Negroni, Americano or Hanky Panky, offered in the most exclusive restaurants and bars in Italy and worldwide.
Where to find it: Antica Formula is available on consignment so ask your favourite local bar to bring it into their bottle shop or reach out directly to Breakthru Beverage Canada email@example.com. In Ottawa, you can get your hands on this delectable sweet vermouth at La Bottega Nicastro and Town.
Please join me on my Instagram Stories tonight at 5 pm Eastern as a I stir up this Manhattan Royale!
- 1½ oz bourbon
- ½ oz Carpano Antica Formula
- ½ oz dry vermouth
- ½ oz nutmeg syrup
- 2 dashes fig and cinnamon bitters
- Garnish: 2 cocktail cherries
- 1 cup demerara sugar
- 1 cup water
- 4 whole nutmegs quartered
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and stir over ice until well-chilled.
Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
Garnish with two cocktail cherries skewered on a cocktail pick.
Combine sugar, water, and nutmeg in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, let sit at room temperature overnight for a more intense flavour.
Store syrup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.