Carpano brings ‘contemporary’ bitter alternative to UK

Carpano Botanic Bitter

The popularity of the Negroni and other cocktails with a bitter note has led to historic vermouth producer Carpano launching its own “contemporary” ruby-red bitter aperitif in the UK.

Carpano Botanic Bitter is made with 10 natural botanicals: saffron, sandal, fresh green orange peel, bitter orange peel, cinchona, rhubarb, gentian, myrrh, wormwood and zedoria (or zedoary). They work together produce a fragrant aroma, a balanced sweet and spicy flavour, and a long bittering finish. It has an ABV of 25% and comes in one-litre bottles.

The new product has been brought to the UK by distributor Hi-Spirits which also looks after Carpano’s vermouths including Antica Formula and Punt e Mes. These are now part another historic Italian group, Fratelli Branca Distillerie, whose brands include Fernet-Branca.

New recipes for Carpano Botanic Bitter have been created by Russell Burgess and Harry Gerakis of consultancy Wet & Dry, which will be served at industry events in February. See below for some of their ideas.

Although not identical, Carpano Botanic Bitter can be used as a substitute for Campari in classic cocktails such as a Negroni, made with Brooklyn Gin and Punt e Mes vermouth, but garnished with lemon instead of a slice of orange.

It can also be used in a classic Americano with Antica Formula vermouth, topped with tonic and garnished with grapefruit, and as a substitute for Campari in a Boulevardier. Wet & Dry has also devised an Irish Boulevardier mixing Carpano Botanic Bitter with Paddy Irish Whiskey and Antica Formula, again with a lemon slice.

Nicola Olianas, global ambassador for Branca Distillery, said: “Carpano Botanic Bitter adds further breadth to the Carpano range, with a unique recipe that combines the Carpano tradition with a contemporary complexity. With cocktail sales set for further strong growth in the UK, Carpano Botanic Bitter meets the need for continued innovation at the premium end of the market.”

Wet & Dry’s cocktail suggestions

Perfect Negroni
30ml Carpano Botanic Bitter
30ml Brooklyn Gin
30ml Punt e Mes
Garnish: Lemon slice
Stir ingredients with ice in an Old Fashioned glass.

Americano
40ml Carpano Botanic Bitter
20ml Carpano Antica Formula
Tonic
Garnish: Grapefruit slice
Add bitter and vermouth over ice in an Old Fashioned or Collins glass, top up with tonic and garnish.

Irish Boulevardier
30ml Carpano Botanic Bitter
30ml Paddy Irish Whiskey
30ml Carpano Antica Formula
Garnish: Lemon slice
Stir ingredients with ice in an Old Fashioned glass.

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