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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Martini Bianco Review and my first infusion

I always keep a couple of bottles of Martini at my house in case I want to make a Martini or a Manhattan. It is always sweet and dry, but I never stock on other Martini products. Once per year I grab a bottle of Bianco for some easy sipping, but I don't bother reviewing it...or any of the other Martini products that I have, in fact. This time is different. I am only going to add a short review and move onto something more important - my first infusion.

The Review

The Martini products are very cheap at the LCBO stores in my province. I paid only $12.95 CAD for a 1 L bottle of Martini Bianco. The back of the label suggests a cocktail, but I will not try it as this is not the focus of this post.

This fortified wine is almost colorless except for its very pale champagne tone. The aroma is composed of notes of ginger, some citrus and herbs, very aromatic. The taste is sweet with hints of vanilla, ginger, some sweet fruits and a very light touch of quinine. The finish is medium and bitter with a brief quinine appearance. I can see why the label suggests mixing this with some tonic water. I think it would also go well with some ginger ale. But that's for another time, lets move onto the infusion.

The Infusion

I wrote this post over the course of several days as I wanted to infuse this vermouth for a longer period of time and try the product at each step of the way...well, once each day. Before I started the infusion, I had a small glass of this stuff for the review and to make some room for the ingredients.

Not having a zester handy, I used a small and very sharp knife to get the zest off a couple of large oranges. Once I had done that, I stuffed the oranges into the bottle and let it sit for a few minutes before I took the photo.

In it, you can see that some of the zest went to the bottom, but most of it remained at the surface. Once I was done taking some photos, I placed the bottle inside one of my corner cabinets, which provided it with both a cool and a very dark place.

Originally I decided to wait for a week, but I quickly changed my mind and thought it would be better to check the daily progress by having a few sips. Below is my short log.

Day 1

Some discoloration has occurred and almost all of the orange zest is now at the bottom. The Martini Bianco now has a strong orange aroma, similar to that of orange flavoured chocolates. There is a slight change in the taste from the orange zest in the form of sweet subtle orange undertone. Not bad for a one day infusion.

Day 2

The color has gotten only slightly darker from the zest. More of it is now at the bottom of the bottle and some there are some miniature specs floating in the vermouth. The orange aroma has gotten stronger and so has the taste. Some of the orange sour bite has found its way in the drink and gives the tongue an acidic jolt.

Day 3

Not much change in the color and the same amount of zest remains near the top. There is a very slight change in the aroma with the orange now overpowering the scent of the Bianco. The orange taste has gotten a bit stronger while the finish and aftertaste have changed dramatically. The finish is more refreshing and the taste of orange lingers for a while.

Day 4

Discoloration remains the same. The orange aroma has gotten even stronger and more overpowering. The orange taste has also gotten stronger. The finish and aftertaste are refreshing and very enjoyable. I liked today's aroma and taste which is why I chose to stop the infusion process. I used a simple metal strainer to get rid of the zest, but I noticed that there are some small orange particles suspended in the vermouth. I could have removed them using a finer filter, perhaps a coffee filter, but I thought that they will give the vermouth a bit more flavour. Some words of wisdom - slice the zest into thin strips if you are using a knife. Otherwise expect to spend several minutes fishing the larger pieces out of the bottle.

I had a glass of this straight and enjoyed it very much. In the near future I will try mixing it with something and I might decide to post the recipes, but at this point I am done with the post and the infusion.

If you decide to try your own infusion, send me an e-mail with the results and I will post your story on the blog.

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