Sunday, May 23, 2010

Review: Cocchi Americano

After talking, at the closing night party at the Manhattan Cocktail Classic, with Eric Seed about his latest epicurean liquid import, Cocchi Americano, I decided to pick up a bottle at Astor Wine & Spirits.

It's a very appealing beverage and quickly worms it's way into your summer tastes buds as a cooly refreshing aperitif. Cocchi Americano is a regular quaff in Asti, the great Italian wine center in Piemonte, and most of it is drunk there. It's been made to the same recipe since 1891, and only imported to the U.S. from time to time, and even then in small quantities. The base is Moscato di Asti, which is infused a blend of herbs, fruit, cinchona, gentian and citrus, among other things. It is then laid down for a year before being released.

Many drinkers will be reminded of Lillet Blanc, which it resembles superficially. But Cocchi has an intriguing, bracing bitter edge to it, placing it, in my mind, somewhere between Lillet and dry vermouth. I tried it in the cocktails suggested on the back label, but I think I much prefer it served simply over ice. It's difficult not to grow quietly contented while sipping this stuff. I suspect one bottle will not last me through the summer.

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