When's the last time you thought about vermouth? For most people, buying these aromatized wines is a mindless task: You grab a bottle of whatever's on the liquor store shelf and go. But Dolin, a newly resurrected brand of very old, very good vermouth is changing the face (and flavor) of New York cocktails.
Made from the same recipes since 1821, this French-based brand has long been the standard-bearer of fine vermouth, but only recently has the producer begun exporting its bottles to the U.S. again. You can find Dolin in the hands of discerning bartenders at spots like Employees Only, Death & Co. and PDT and on the shelves at top wine shops--for about the same price as other brands.
Why all the excitement? Where many dry vermouths taste like stale wine, and sweet ones are sickly so, Dolin's three styles--dry, sweet (aka rouge) and the slightly sweet blanc--are markedly lighter and fresher-tasting, with subtle herb flavors and a clean finish. Drunk straight as an aperitif, they're as delicate as a fine wine--and should be treated as such (store them in the refrigerator). Plus, they simply make cocktails taste better; try a fifty-fifty mix of dry vermouth and gin in your next martini, and you'll see the light. Or try this snappy concoction from PDT's David Slape.
Recipe from David Slape, PDT
Makes 1 drink
1 ounce applejack
¾ ounce Dolin Rouge vermouth
½ ounce Plymouth sloe gin
½ ounce fresh lemon juice
½ ounce simple syrup (1 part sugar dissolved in 1 part simmering water)
Fill a pint glass with ice. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass and serve.