Aperitif Profile #2: Cocchi Americano (or the return of Kina)

When the Cocchi Americano dropped two week ago, I didn't expect it to be a big deal, but it turned out that many a bartender had their eye on this and were anxiously awaiting its arrival - we sold out in a day.  What we know today as Lillet is a lighter, more mild and easy going version of what used to be known as Kina Lillet - a far more bitter and expressive vermouth that contained quinine.  It was (is) a main component of the Corpse Reviver #2 cocktail and stands well on its own with a splash of soda and a slice of orange.  The Cocchi is an Italian version of Kina.  This is a low-alcohol, wine-based aperitif that does what so few purported aperitif's seem to do: it enlivens your palate and your appetite. What a concept! This is the original Americano, produced without a break in the Piedmontese town of Asti since 1891 and made according to an entirely natural recipe, which includes white wine aromatized with many herbs and spices, and no artificial coloring, flavoring or additive of any kind. It is produced in limited quantities and matured for a year before being put on sale.  Think of it as white Campari!  I am currently enthralled with it.

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll