Friday, July 25, 2008
do you like punt e mes?
happy friday afternoon everyone! at least it is friday as i write this...it is a beautiful, warm day here in napa..has been a very long week..and i have decided that it is the perfect time for a cocktail. my twitter friend, sandy gluck, editor from martha stewart's everyday food magazine, posted last week that her favorite at home cocktail was punt e mes on ice with a squeeze of lemon. i confess that i had completely forgotten about punt e mes..had not had it in years..and as soon as i read her twitter message i went out to buy a bottle. i have been talking about it all week and have not found anyone who has ever heard of it..so i have been encouraging everyone i know to give it a try..thought i would do the same for all of you...if you are a punt e mes fan please share your stories and recipes in the comments section...for everyone else...if you are unfamiliar with this beverage let me provide a bit of history.
punt e mes falls in the vermouth category.... according to the label "it is an original aperitif based on hillside wine, sugar and mountain herbs." the literal translation for punt e mes in italian is a point and a half.... in my research i discovered that the name came from an on-going disagreement with a barman, antonio carpano, and a customer regarding the amount of vermouth the customer wanted added to his wine. they finally agreed on the ratio a point and a half..and voila..the drink was born! the vermouth in question was made by carpano..and..while the stories vary a bit on various internet sites..the common agreement is that carpano decided to market his recipe and the business was born.... this was in turin, italy in 1786, and the carpano family produced punt e mes until 2002 when it was sold to the milan firm of fratelli branca. the legend of how the recipe was created used to appear on the bottle along with the carpano name. the bottle i purchased last week reflects a bit of a branding makeover. the carpano name is gone replaced by the words antica ricetta di vermut pregiato. my italian-to-english translation is old recipe of precious vermouth...(note to the italians reading this blog..please feel free to correct my translation with a more accurate one)...the taste of punt e mes is a hard-to-describe mix of sweet and bitter..with a earthy back taste. my favorite way to drink it is on the rocks..really, really cold..with a slice of orange...(sandy uses a squeeze of lemon)...the bottle also suggests mixing with soda..and there are many recipes which call for mixing with other ingredients for a cocktail..but straight on the rocks is my choice...
so a quick (at least for me) story. i really wanted to see the new movie mama mia. my husband is one of those people that hates musicals in movie form. he is o.k. with most stage plays..but a musical movie..no way.. i asked my friend shesh to go with me..she adores musicals..and we went tuesday night... i was feeling fine during the movie..but we decided to grab a quick dinner afterwards and..as soon as we sat down..i began getting a headache...it quickly turned into a migraine. i literally threw some money at shesh to pay for my portion..left my mostly untouched entree..and drove home. happily, i live 5 minutes from the restaurant...by the time i got home..massive migraine had set in..the works..weird light in my left eye, horrible pounding head, queasy stomach...and major sensitivity to noise and light... i pulled the blinds..turned off all lights..got in bed and pretty much passed out. the next day the headache was mostly gone..but i still felt groggy and a bit queasy. tried to ignore it..even went to the gym..no luck..finally, my husband suggested an afternoon punt e mes cocktail..we both remembered that it is sometimes used to settle upset stomachs..well, it worked like a charm..felt 100% better after 2 sips...must be the herbs?..but in any case..what a benefit!..oh yeah..and my husband has been rubbing it in all week that i left home to see mama mia..and returned with a massive migraine...i promise..really, really, promise..one had nothing to do with the other...but he is getting a lot of mileage from this.
anyway, give punt e mes a try...and please let me know what you think..i think i will finish my cocktail now..enjoy your weekend everyone!