Vermouth is one of those highly used ingredients yet not many people know what makes a vermouth a vermouth, or what sets it apart from other types of alcohol. In conjunction with World Vermouth Day, we speak to Cucielo Vermouth Brand Digital Associate Murray Anderson to find out more.
Vermouth di Torino: Italian Cucielo Vermouth
Cucielo Vermouth is a vermouth made in Torino which has protection under EU laws since 2017 and DOC appellation for its high quality. This award winning vermouth uses natural botanicals in a 100% recyclable materials in a Italian 1930’s art deco. The vermouth itself is made in Piedmont using Italian wines with the predominant flavour of wormwood, also called artemisia, with a bottle strength of 16% and above.
Can you tell us about the origins of vermouth?
Vermouth is an aromatised, fortified wine. This sounds complicated, but it’s really quite simple. Firstly, Vermouth MUST include wormwood, similar to what juniper berries are to gin. The aromatised part comes from the botanical infusion created. This is your blend of herbs and botanicals that infuse in neutral alcohol to extract their flavour. The fortified part comes from the addition of this alcohol and some sugar. This increases the alcoholic percentage and thus, creates fortified wine. The infusion is then added to your wine base, which creates your vermouth!
When it was invented is a bit difficult, as some articles give different dates. The most popular piece of evidence comes from two brothers in Milan, Italy. Antonio and Bernadetto Carpano were said to be the creators of ‘modern vermouth’ in 1786.
How has the use of vermouth changed over the years?
Originally, vermouth was a medicinal product. The use of herbs and botanicals in vermouth work as a great digestive aid, anti-inflammatory and a pretty tasty way to boost your immune system as well as relieve stress! As the years went on and medicine became more advanced, people began to drink these alcoholic products for their flavour and alcoholic properties. The flavour became more palatable and in today’s world, we now have a huge range of fantastic alcohol to choose from.
What is the difference between white vermouth and red vermouth?
In CUCIELO’s (and most vermouth) case, the wine base remains the same. We use Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, Ansonica and Grillo as our wine base for both our Rosso and Bianco vermouth. What separates them and gives them both their unique colour is the herbs and botanicals we choose. Our Bianco is a lot lighter in flavour and uses botanicals like elderflower, cardamom & green apple. Whereas our Rosso adapts a much richer, deeper flavour. We use botanicals such as caramelised orange, rhubarb, clove & vanilla. So to answer, the difference is in the botanicals, and the lighter flavour in the Bianco tends to be a fan favourite!
What sets Cucielo apart from other vermouths?
CUCIELO is not just a vermouth, but a vermouth di Torino. Like champagne to sparkling wine or cognac to brandy, Vermouth ‘di Torino’ is a mark of quality and origin within the vermouth category. This means that whilst anyone can make vermouth, not everyone can make a vermouth di Torino as you must adhere to rules set and guided by EU Law. CUCIELO Vermouth di Torino is a true, all Italian vermouth that proves its quality through the ‘di Torino’ appellation.
Tell us something about Cucielo that not many might know.
CUCIELO’s backstory is quite unique… Our brand owner, Andy is Scottish. He wanted a bridge between his Scottish heritage and the Italian vermouth. This bridge was created by the migration route of the cuckoo, that travels from the warmth of West Africa to spend it’s summer in Scotland. Returning home, the cuckoo then travels home via a different route, flying over the length of Italy. Taking in the beautiful aromas of Italy and the Mediterranean.
Can you share with us a cocktail recipe?
My personal favourite, the Negroni Sbagliato! Served in a wine glass filled with ice.
35ml CUCIELO Rosso
Top with prosecco
Give it a stir and serve with a wedge of fresh orange… A slightly sweeter, effervescent version of the Negroni.
What are some ways to enjoy Cucielo Vermouth?
Many many ways! It’s incredibly versatile and perfectly balanced. A lot of people like to keep their drinks low ABV, and for that reason, like to drink it over ice, or with tonic water. It can be used in classic cocktails like the Manhattan, the negroni, or in Spritz drinks too!
How has vermouth consumption trend changed and grown in Asia and other parts of the world?
On my end, I have seen vermouth consumption become a huge amount more popular in the UK. It is now fashionable to enjoy quality drinks, and to know what goes in them. For this reason, people are now a lot more knowledgeable of quality alcohol, like Vermouth di Torino. We are also seeing a big increase in low ABV drinks being enjoyed at home too. CUCIELO sits at 16.8% and is within the low ABV category, so people are enjoying CUCIELO with tonic water, soda or even on its own!
Cucielo Vermouth is imported in Malaysia by Single & Available and is available at their local store as well as their e-commerce platform https://www.singleandavailable.com.my/.