Sunday, November 15, 2015

Cazapra French Dry Vermouth

I was recently looking through the October 31, 1938 edition of the New York Times through their TimesMachine website for some information on the Orson Welles radio performance of the War of the Worlds. I wrote about it for my HistorySisco Tumblr page if you feel inclined to check it out. Now as with prior posts, where I look for old advertisements for old liquor postings, I found this one in that day's edition.


The ad was for a French Dry Vermouth called Cazapra. As you see above, the unlucky fellow is brooding that he has "Martini-envy" and can't live up to the standard set by this particular fellow of the name of Jim. Apparently Jim's Martini skills are strong that the sun knows about it and states that Jim uses Cazapra aka The Sunshine Vermouth. Now this is not to be confused with a Sunshine Cocktail which contains French Vermouth. I'll touch on that particular concoction in a later post. Sorry for the digression.

From what I found about this particular French Dry Vermouth, is that it is/was distributed in France by a company called Cazalis and Prats. There seems to be another French Vermouth of the same era aptly named Cazalis and Prats French Dry Vermouth and I haven't been able to find anything to state whether both the Cazapra Vermouth and the Cazalis and Prats Vermouth are one and the same with a different label.

The main reference that I found for both Vermouths is from the New York Public Library What's on the menu? collection. They have catalogued over 45,000 menus and digitized 17,545 of them that you can search through by a variety of search options. It really is a fascinating website which I have successfully used before for my October 15, 2013 post The Cocktail List at the Copacabana 1943. I highly recommend it.

In terms of the Cazapra, I found one mention for this vermouth on the menu listing for The Wine and Food Society, Inc's 70th tasting (during the season of 1946-1947) that was held at Starlight Roof of the Waldorf Astoria on March 21, 1947. The event was called A Tasting of ApƩritifs and Hors D'Oeuvre and in said event there were numerous types of apƩritif that were paired with particular hors d'oeuvres. I'll devote a future post on the other aperitifs that were offered at this event. For the moment, here is the page that highlights the Cazapra

Courtesy of the NYPL Labs What's on the Menu Database
To find out a little more of where Vermouth is traditionally made, I decided to check out the Vermouth 101 website. Here is how they describe the traditional area of Vermouth production:
Geographically, The cradle of vermouth is the ethnically Italian Piemonte and ethnically French Savoy regions, which, in the 18th Century comprised the mainland territory of the Kingdom of Sardinia.
In addition to economic ties, these regions shared the local wine production and the rich botanical diversity of the Alpine foothills necessary to produce vermouth and related beverages. (By the 1861, the Kingdom of Sardinia had gobbled up the rest of the peninsula to create what we know today as Italy, losing the Savoy region permanently to France by treaty.)
If you want to know more about Vermouths, definitely peruse the Vermouth 101 website. While I couldn't find anything on the Cazapra French Vermouth on the website, it is an amazing resource to research. It just might be that the Cazapra brand was absorbed by another brand or just ceased to be in production. If I find anything else, I'll return to this post.

I do have a brief Vermouth story that I will relate in a future post. So keep an eye out for it.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
SiscoVanilla
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