Campari is a bitter red liqueur that is instantly recognizable…
Punt E Mes is a unique and popular Italian red vermouth made by Carpano, a brand founded by the family that is credited for coining the term “vermouth” in the first place. Punt E Mes is a dark reddish amber color and has elements of both sweetness and bitterness. While it is usually described as a red or sweet vermouth, it is more accurately classified as a vermouth amaro due to its strong bitter flavor. It actually tastes like a vermouth that has been strongly flavored with aromatic bitters.
Punt E Mes starts out strongly sweet, then transitions into an array of herbal and spice notes, followed by a long and bitter finish. It is typically served chilled or with ice, which mellows out that finish a bit. It’s enjoyable to sip straight and it makes an excellent substitution for any bitter liqueur in just about any cocktail.
Worth another round? Definitely. This vermouth is sweet enough to win over people who find other amaros to be too bitter and complex enough to make vermouth fans realize that there is no point to buying ultra-cheap vermouth when something like Punt E Mes is available. It’s hard to go back after this. The flavor is addictive and you’re going to find yourself wondering what else you can do with it. Fortunately, it mixes well and adds a lot of flavor to cocktails. It’s not just used to add color to a drink, as sweet vermouth often is, but if you do only need a few drops for color, you might as well use the good stuff instead of buying a whole bottle of something much less tasty.