Bar Essentials – Punt e Mes

Up until about a year ago, I had never even heard of Punt e Mes. Now, I use it all the time. Punt e Mes is an Italian vermouth that is sweet at first taste, but bitter as it lasts on the tongue. The bitter effect is, interestingly, cumulative. The more you have of even a small amount, the more bitter it tastes. It’s sorta half way between regular sweet (rosso/red) vermouth and Compari. 

Personally, I prefer sweet cocktails over bitter ones, but Punt e Mes is an interesting combination. It can be used as a replacement for sweet vermouth in almost any cocktail for a somewhat spicier taste. I like it in Manhattans and in my favorite drink, The Fort Point from the bar Drink in Boston. It can also be used to sweeten up drinks that call for Compari that might be otherwise too tart. 

Punt e Mes can be difficult to find. I’ve found it at a few small liquor stores with poor selections and have not been able to find it at huge liquor warehouse stores that seem to carry everything. Its not very expensive. It comes in a 750ml bottle and sells for $15-$20. It’ll last a long time.

Like all vermouth, it should be refrigerated after opening. Vermouth is a fortified wine and does oxidize over time. Even refrigerated, you should limit the life of your vermouth to a few months at most. Yes, it should come in smaller bottles. The effect is particularly profound with dry/white vermouth. An older bottle of dry vermouth will give you a completely different tasting martini. While the effect on sweeter vermouth is not as profound, your drinks will still taste different with older opened bottles.

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About Will Herman (102 Posts)

I don’t know what it takes to become a professional mixologist, but I’m going to night school at my own home bar to achieve that status. For now, I’m an amateur cocktail creator who enjoys learning about new drinks and rediscovering the classics.

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