Spirit
of the Year
2014-15

To help decide the winner of The Whisky Exchange Spirit of the Year, we ask drinks writers, connoisseurs and industry insiders for their views on the spirits that have impressed them the most over the past 12 months.

Combining their opinions with our own, we come up with a shortlist of eight bottles, all of which are pictured here. This year, there was a near-unanimous choice:
Cocchi Vermouth di Torino.

And yes, we know it's not a spirit, but we wanted to acknowledge the quality of this incredibly versatile and delicious vermouth, our favourite 'non-whisky' of the year. Here's the lowdown...

The
Winner

75cl / 16%

Cocchi Vermouth di Torino is a top-quality vermouth, made in the same way as Martini and Cinzano – wine fortified with spirit and the addition of herbs and spices, but what sets Cocchi apart is its rich, intense flavour.

The Cocchi story begins in the late 19th century, when Giulio Cocchi moved from Florence to Asti near Turin, an area famed for its tradition of blending wine and herbs. And so in 1891, he began distilling and making wine, and his reputation rapidly grew.

Giulio's Vermouth di Torino – made to a 100-year-old family recipe – uses Moscato wine as its base, then a secret recipe of botanicals is added.

£18.45 Special Price

How
to Drink It

COCCHI - Vermouth di Torino

Cocchi is versatile and can be drunk in many ways. At TWE, we love it served neat, or with a couple of cubes of ice and a slice of orange. It's also great mixed or served long, as well as being great in cocktails.

And because it's fortified, you don't have to use the whole bottle in one go – once opened, keep it in the fridge, and it will stay in good condition for months – perfect for parties over the Christmas period.

Tasting Notes

Nose: Rich, inviting nose of red-berry fruits and rose petals with candied orange peel and bitter cherries.

Palate: Cherry menthol notes and stewed raspberries, orange peel and a subtle, savoury herbaceous note.

Finish: Very clean and refreshing, with the fruit and herbs intermingling beautifully.

Comment: What sets this vermouth apart is the whistle-clean fruitiness, and a lovely bittersweet note.

Here is a trio of Cocchi cocktails to try at home...

The
Manhattan

Whiskey and vermouth combine brilliantly in this simple but classic cocktail.

Ingredients
50ml Michter's US*1 Bourbon
25ml Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
Dash of Angostura bitters

Method
Place ingredients in a cocktail shaker, add ice, and stir until the sides of the shaker are very cold. Strain into a chilled Martini glass, garnish with orange-zest shards.

The
Martinez

The only difference between a Martinez and a Manhattan is the substitution of whiskey for gin – perfect if you prefer a more refreshing style of cocktail.

Ingredients
50ml Tanqueray Gin No.10
25ml Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
Dash of Angostura bitters

Method
Add ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice, and stir. Strain into a chilled Martini glass, garnish with a cherry.

The
Negroni

Big, bitter and dry, the Negroni is a grown-up cocktail, and not for everyone. But try one, and you'll be hooked...

Ingredients
50ml Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
50ml Tanqueray Gin No.10
50ml Campari

Method
Simply add all three ingredients into a rocks glass with ice, and stir until well chilled. Garnish with an orange twist.

Why
Drink It?

Cocchi is well loved – and well used – by some of the world's best bartenders and mixologists. It regularly plays a starring role in cocktail competitions across the globe, and is something of a secret weapon among cocktail creators. Three of the UK's best mixologists explain why Cocchi is essential for your drinks cabinet:

Oskar Kinberg, director, Dabbous
'I use Cocchi as a condiment – it's the ketchup of the bar. It adds length and structure to any drink. Great simply over ice or add a splash to your favourite cocktail'

Divyesh Chauhan,
bar manager, Beast

'Cocchi is great in an Americano – mix with Campari and top with soda – or try it in a rum Manhattan: 50ml of Diplomatico Reserva, 25ml of Cocchi and a dash of bitters'

Declan McGurk, bar manager,
American Bar at the Savoy

'Cocchi Vermouth Di Torino has a wonderful level of fruity undertone that marries well with the deep fruits hidden in bourbon and rye. This really enhances a Manhattan'

The
Runner-Up
Tanqueray Gin No.10

70cl / 47.3%

Tanqueray Gin No. Ten

Distilled near Edinburgh, Tanqueray 10 is a benchmark gin. Noted for its clean, crisp, citrus-led style, it's perfect in a Martini, or any other gin-based cocktail.

It takes its name from the 'Tiny 10' pot still in which it is made, and remains the only gin to be inducted into the San Francisco World Spirits Hall of Fame.

Tanqueray has a unrivalled reputation around the world, and among gin connoisseurs, it is the gin by which all others should be judged.

£28.95 Special Price