While I've been getting a lot of my drinks from the Art of the Shim lately, I've had my eye out for other vermouth-based cocktails. This one, care of Imbibe, caught my eye in its simplicity and relatively low ABV profile.
2 oz sweet vermouth
0.25 oz brandy
0.25 oz passion fruit syrup
Combine all ingredients in a glass with crushed ice, swizzle, then optionally garnish with lemon wheels and sprigs of fresh thyme.
The nose has big grape notes from the vermouth and brandy with some passion fruit peeking around the edges. The sip begins sweetly with passion fruit and brandy plus some nice floral notes, then flows into grapes and quinine bitterness at the back. The finish is relatively dry and woody, driven by the vermouth.
Much like the Rhum Dandy Shim, this feels like a drink best suited for summer. It's nice and refreshing without being at all tepid. I do wish I had gone with the optional garnish since I think a touch of lemon would have helped brighten it up, but it doesn't feel out of balance without.
Using Punt e Mes instead of Miró Rojo gave the drink something of a darker cast. But I happen to like bitter drinks so this still hits the spot. The recommendation of a Spanish sweet vermouth makes sense as I tend to find them a little bit simpler, so something like my go-to Cocchi di Torino might have had a bit too much going on and muscled out the other ingredients. A more workable twist might be Lustau Rojo, which has a similar profile to the Miró, but adds in some savory notes that could play well against the brandy.