In Front of the TV, Sipping a Vermouth Panache

vermouth panacheFor all the adoring press vermouth lately seems to be getting, I’m surprised hardly anyone has mentioned the most basic vermouth-based libation of ’em all: sweet and dry, mixed together over ice and served in an Old-Fashioned glass. The drink is called a Vermouth Panache, and is a delight. It was introduced to me by my brother-in-law years ago, and since then has become a staple in my weekend drinking rotation–especially this time of year, with the days finally short and cool enough that I can watch both Sunday afternoon NFL games without feeling guilty that I’m not outside playing golf. When I was younger, I could sit through six hours of football and drink nothing but beer, and barely let out a hiccup. No longer. Nowadays, by as early as 3:00 p.m., I might feel so bloated from beer that I’ll worry I’ll put myself off my appetite for dinner. When that happens, I’ll switch to Panaches and stay with them until the whiskey hour arrives at 6:00. The drink is nicely aromatic and has a satisfying, full flavor. My brother-in-law mixes his half sweet and half dry, but that’s too syrupy for my taste. Ernest Hemingway, who’s said to have invented the drink, went two-thirds dry and one-third sweet and added some Angostura bitters and a lemon twist. That’s still a bit much on the sweet side, in my view. Rather, fill up a rocks glass full of ice nearly to the top with dry vermouth and add a splash and a half of sweet. Omit the bitters and garnish altogether. You have work to do. Football doesn’t watch itself.

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