Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Vermouth Review: Cocchi Vermouth di Torino

Cocchi claims that this is original Italian, e.g. sweet vermouth, from the classic cocktail era. I'll leave the detailed history to Haus Alpenz, but it's a claim that gives them fairly big boots to fill.

It uses their own Moscato wine as a base, which is aromatized and colored with a range of botanicals such as cocoa, bitter orange peel, ginger and rhubarb plus cinchona as a primary bittering agent. They also add a small amount of caramelized brown sugar both for sweetness and to add some vanilla notes without using actual vanilla beans. The wine is then bottled at 16% ABV.

Cocchi Vermouth di Torino

Nose: *big* aromas of dry wormwood, rhubarb, fresh mint, dried grasses and herbs, dried ginger, citrus peel, bubblegum, and vanilla in the background

Taste: opens with wine sweetness inflected with rhubarb and a bit of wormwood, gently herbal/grassy in the middle, gains some gentle wood-y bitterness with a touch of vanilla towards the back

Finish: unfolding layers of wormwood, dark chocolate, citrus pith, mint, herbs, and more wine sweetness

I don't feel like it's an exaggeration to say that this is one of the best drinks you can get for the money right now. The aromas and flavors are bold without being unbalanced or feeling artificial in any way. While it's definitely sweet and firmly in a dessert wine mold, there's just enough bitterness to leave you wanting more after the finish.

In a Negroni the aromas remain fairly closed while it's cold, but some richer notes from the vermouth manage to peek out and expand into some wormwood as it warms up. The sip begins with moderate sweetness from the vermouth and Campari, then the middle is dominated by the rich chocolate-y and citrus notes of the vermouth before tumbling into a pool of different types of bitterness at the back. The finish is long and dominated by the juniper notes from the gin.

That is a great drink. This is one of the few vermouths I've had where it really manages to hold its own against the other components. I won't say that it's the best Negroni ever since that's a matter of style, but it's certainly one of my favorites. With that said, I think you want to pair it with a fairly full-bodied gin since something on the lighter, more floral side could end up getting lost.


  1. The Cocchi Torino has become one of my favorite vermouths (along with the Lustau). You might also like the Dopo Teatro version - I haven't tracked it down in town, but I've seen half bottles. Website lists full 75cl: https://www.cocchi.it/en/wines/dopo-teatro-vermouth-amaro/

    1. I'll have a review of Dopo Teatro up on Thursday. A lot of the usual suspects like Providore have it, but Rose City Liquor on Sandy also has a surprisingly good selection of vermouth.