Sunday, December 18, 2016

Booze Ads From the December 19, 1985 New York Times

Hey there gals and guys. Sorry for the lack of posts as of late. I've been focusing on work, including a promotion to management at a new bookstore cafe location. So I've been very busy and trying to keep the mind clear. Which means no cocktails for the time being. But it doesn't mean that I am not looking out for booze related material to post on. 

With that in mind, I was looking through the December 19, 1975 issue of the New York Times and came across the following ads. While I thought that the ads would be much more festive than they were, I am surprised that there is some variety to the ads. They aren't all whisky/whiskey ads as I have come across in other issues of the New York Times. 

One ad that I find curious is the ad for the Carpano Punt e Mes. Italian Vermouth Rossos and Amaros have undergone a renaissance among cocktail circles in the last few years. No longer do you just see Martini Vermouth Rosso on the back bar as the standard. Now many a brand can be found including the classic Vermouth brand Carpano with their Punt e Mes being front and center. Punt e Mes is a bit different from your standard Vermouth Rosso which places it in the Amaro category.

According to the Carpano Punt e Mes website:
Punt e Mes has a golden orange color with topaz tones, herby aromas and dark red, black dahlia with vermilion shades. The initial taste is one of sweetness, characterised by an intriguing accent of orange. This is followed by the characteristically bitter taste of the quina and ends on a sweet note.
Aside from being used in such classic cocktails as the Manhattan and the Negroni, two other cocktails that are listed on the website for use of Punt e Mes are the MITO and the 70's Punt e Mes cocktails.

Now at times you'll see the terms Vermouth Rosso and Amaro bounced around when characterizing a product like Punt e Mes. How to tell the difference between the two? I found an article by Warren Bobrow entitled Amaro & Vermouth: The Bitter and the Sweet from the Williams and Sonoma Taste website from September 9, 2011. Here is what he had to say:
Italian Vermouth in many ways is similar to Amaro, but a bit less bitter on the tongue.  Some uniquely flavorful ones from Italy are Punt e Mes and the esoteric, salubrious Carpano Antica.  The Carpano is a rum raisin-filled mouthful of sweet vanilla cake, laced with Asian spices and caramelized dark stone fruits. Punt e Mes is lighter and nuttier, with caramelized pecans and hand-ground grits in the finish.

I’m sure the alcohol is low — all these products (Amaro included) are low in alcohol, making them perfect in a cocktail. Amaro can be enjoyed as a digestif, it acts to settle the stomach after a large meal because of the herbal ingredients.

But what does Amaro taste like? The flavors vary from sweet to bittersweet to herbal, featuring orange blossoms, caramel and nuts. Some taste like artichoke, others like mint, and still others like a sweetened root tea. They may be enjoyed in a cup of hot tea as an elixir, or dropped into a small cup of espresso to “correct” the sweet, thick coffee.
As you can see, Amaros run the gamut on the taste profile list. Regardless of which brand you come across, give them a try. Take a page from the Skittles handbook: taste the rainbow, feel the rainbow. Sorry, that was bad. On that note, I'm out. Peace and Happy Holidays.

Until Then Happy Drinking,