Noilly Prat, the world-renowned vermouth crafted by the sea, made its first foray into prestigious trade show, Bar Convent Berlin this year. To showcase its proximity to the sea, overlooking miles of oyster tables, and the importance it has on its unique production process, Noilly Prat brought the South of France to the urban surroundings of Germany’s capital. From Noilly Prat deck chairs to fresh lemon trees, guests were transported to the home of this fine French vermouth nestled in the pretty fishing village of Marseillan. Led by Coupette’s Chris Moore, Noilly Prat served over 3,800 industry friends at its debut this week.
A TASTE OF THE SOUTH OF FRANCE
With its central location in the courtyard entrance to the show, along with sunny 22-degree weather, the Noilly Prat team shucked over 1,000 fresh oysters that were enjoyed with chilled Noilly Prat Original Dry poured over the oyster, which was then either sipped from the shell or devoured in one. Over 2,800 aperitifs were served, including L’Apéritif, Noilly Prat Original Dry over ice with a twist of lemon, Chris Moore’s Maison Highball, featuring Noilly Prat Original dry, green chartreuse, spruce shoot syrup and celery bitters topped with tonic and served with a slim celery twist and Noilly Prat Original Dry served with Perrier and frozen grapes – inspired by Dante’s ‘Vermouth Service’.
The classic dry martini cocktail is one of the world’s most internationally recognised cocktails and on Friday 19 June, we celebrate its longstanding reputation with World Martini Day. NOILLY PRAT®, one of the world’s finest French vermouths since 1813, is a key ingredient in the classic dry martini cocktail. Here are four ways to celebrate World Martini Day with Noilly Prat.
Enjoy the original, world class Noilly Prat classic dry martini cocktail recipe or discover three unique expressions, inspired and created by some of the world’s best bartenders for Noilly Prat’s inaugural cocktail challenge. Since the competition began in September 2014, leading drinks experts from around the world judged each bartender’s twist on the iconic classic dry martini cocktail.
CLASSIC DRY MARTINI COCKTAIL
1 part Noilly Prat Original Dry
2 parts GREY GOOSE® vodka or BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® gin
Dash of orange bitters
Lucques olive to garnish
1. Place all the ingredients in a mixing glass filled with ice + stir well
2. Single strain into a classic cocktail glass
3. Garnish with a cocktail onion
NOILLY PRAT DRY MÉDITERRANÉE WINNER OF THE 2015 NOILLY PRAT CLASSIC DRY MARTINI COCKTAIL CHALLENGE
Created by: Romain de Saussure, Prescription Cocktail Club, Paris, France
20ml Noilly Prat Original Dry
40ml homemade tincture (Bombay Sapphire infused with Noilly Prat, green olives and rosemary)
1. Prepare and clean martini glasses and chill in the freezer
2. Fill a mixing glass with ice
3. Add Noilly Prat Original Dry and Bombay Sapphire
4. Add the grapefruit peel and stir until perfectly diluted and cold
5. Strain into chilled glasses and garnish with rosemary and cheese (optional)
NOILLY PRAT FRENCH PRIDE
Created by: Steve Lawson, MASH, London, UK
60 ml Noilly Prat Original Dry
35 ml Bombay Sapphire
Half bar spoon of truffle honey
Garnish with hand stuffed olives
1. Pour 60ml of Noilly Prat Original Dry into a mixing glass with ice
2. Add 35ml of Bombay Sapphire and stir
3. Add half a barspoon of truffle honey
4. Strain and serve in a classic dry martini cocktail glass
5. Garnish with hand stuffed olives NOILLY PRAT THE DAYBOAT’S RETURN
Created by: Piotr Sajdak, Little Red Door, Paris, France
40ml Noilly Prat Original Dry
20ml Bombay Sapphire
10ml Ocean tincture (10ml of oil of anchovies | 50ml of polish spirit | 20ml violet)
1. Fill a mixing glass with ice
2. Add Noilly Prat Original Dry and Bombay Sapphire
3. Add homemade Ocean tincture
4. Stir slowly
5. Strain into a chilled coupe glass
6. Garnish with a linen bag as a nod to the fishermen
1. With the historic Knickerbocker Hotel (birthplace of the classic dry martini cocktail) due to reopen its doors this year after almost a century, the revival of vermouth is set to continue in 2015
2. The first international Noilly Prat classic dry martini cocktail challenge kicked off with some of the world’s best bartenders showcasing their individual take on the recipe
3. Bartenders from London’s most established bars, including The Beaufort Bar at The Savoy, Quo Vadis and 69 Colebrooke Row were invited to the brand’s home in Marseillan to create a contemporary twist on the classic dry martini cocktail using innovative ingredients
4. It was a white truffle infused, honey cocktail accompanied by a carefully hand stuffed olive that won the UK heats for Steve Lawson at London’s MASH in Soho
Get yourself in the mood with these Christmas recipes and present ideas;
50 ml King of Soho Gin
1 slice root ginger
1 barspoon Runny Honey
15 ml Fresh Lemon Juice
125 ml Pressed Apple Juice
Muddle the ginger in the bottom of a cocktail shaker, add the other ingredients and shake with ice. Double strain into a tall glass filled with cubed ice. Garnish with apple slices and a slice of ginger
60 ml Broker’s Gin
30 ml pink grapefruit juice
30 ml crème de mure
2 lime wedges
Squeeze the lime wedges into a shaker and add the other ingredients. Fill the shaker with ice cubes and shake vigorously until the shaker is freezing. Strain into a chilled Martini glass and enjoy!
THE NOILLY PRAT CLASSIC DRY MARTINI COCKTAIL CHALLENGE
NOILLY PRAT®, one of the world’s finest French vermouths, kicked off its first ever International Noilly Prat classic dry martini challenge on 1 September 2014 with some of the world’s best bartenders judged by leading drinks experts. In recognition of Noilly Prat’s rightful place in the history of this iconic cocktail, 2 of the 4 markets participating have already caused a stir at the brand’s home in Marseillan showcasing their individual take on the classic dry martini cocktail. With the winners from the DachNordic and UK markets having been selected, there will be fierce competition at the upcoming heats with the French and US markets in early 2015 to earn the all expenses paid trip to the Manhattan Cocktail Classic in New York in May 2015.
SETTING THE SCENE
What better setting to host the Noilly Prat classic dry martini cocktail challenge than at the home of Noilly Prat, situated in the pretty fishing village of Marseillan that overlooks the Mediterranean Sea. The challenge begins with an exclusive tour of La Maison Noilly Prat where both competitors and judges are given the opportunity to discover the closely guarded secrets of creating Noilly Prat.
From the tasting of the local grape varietals picpoul and clairette that are used in the creation of Noilly Prat Original Dry, to the discovery of the unique outdoor ageing process of L’Enclos and the time-honoured process used to blend the secret recipe of herbs and spices, the guests uncover over 200 years of history and heritage, which has made Noilly Prat world-renowned amongst the top on-trade.
THE CHALLENGE. THE RULES.
Having been immersed into the long-standing craftsmanship of Louis Noilly’s original recipe, the bartenders were charged with the seemingly simple, but notoriously complex challenge of creating the world’s best tasting classic dry martini cocktail at Le Bar Noilly Prat. Participants were judged on the complete experience, from the serving ritual and storytelling through to the temperature, glassware and taste of the serve, which must use only 3 ingredients.
THE WORLD’S BEST TASTING NOILLY PRAT CLASSIC DRY MARTINI COCKTAIL
With the winner from the DachNordic market, Gabriel Daun, and the winner from the UK market, Steve Lawson with his serve French Pride, we wait with anticipation to discover the winner of the French and US heats, with the international winner of the Noilly Prat classic dry martini cocktail challenge being announced in April 2015. http://www.noillyprat.com
Just 45 minutes drive away from Montpellier lies the home of La Maison Noilly Prat, nestled in the enchanting fishing village of Marseillan overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Immerse yourself in the local traditions and culture of this quiet town to discover the 2 things that Marseillan is most famously known for: the local Bouzigues oysters and NOILLY PRAT®.
Marseillan has been the home of Noilly Prat for over 200 years and was selected by Louis Noilly due to its coastal location. Noilly Prat Original Dry is created using a unique ageing process inspired by the transportation of wines in the 19th century on the decks of sailing ships where the sea spray and effect of the four seasons left its powerful mark on the wines. In L’Enclos, a walled enclosure located in the centre of La Maison Noilly Prat, hundreds of oak barrels are exposed to the natural elements for 12 months before the wines are macerated with a secret recipe of around 20 herbs and spices. The local eateries surrounding the Marseillan harbour proudly savour and serve this unique liquid as a Noilly Prat Original Dry L’Apéritif.
TASTE THE SOUTH OF FRANCE
Alongside creating one of the world’s finest vermouths, Marseillan also produces some of the world’s best oysters, huîtres de Bouzigues. Bouzigues oysters come from the local oyster beds located on the Étang de Thau – the largest of a string of lagoons (étangs) that stretch along the French coast and feeds into the Mediterranean Sea.
The creaminess of Noilly Prat’s neighbouring oysters perfectly complements the unique taste of Noilly Prat Original Dry with its floral nose, citrus notes and long-lasting herbal finish. Simply pour 2 parts Noilly Prat Original Dry into a wine glass over ice and stir once to unlock the herbal aromas. Finally, twist a peel of lemon to release its essential oils and lift the notes of bitter orange, one of the key botanicals used to craft Noilly Prat Original Dry.
Guests of local hotel Port Rive Gauche can enjoy a chilled glass of Noilly Prat at their leisure whilst taking in the panoramic views of the Étang de Thau’s blue lagoon decorated with its famous oyster tables. Santé!
DISCOVER THE CRAFT OF NOILLY PRAT
With over 300 sunny days a year, any season is the perfect time to visit Marseillan. The iconic home of Noilly Prat is open to guests eager to discover the rich culture, authenticity and history of one of the world’s finest French vermouths and for a limited time only Noilly Prat will also be offering VIP visits. During the VIP tour guests will be guided through the unique production process of creating Noilly Prat, from the Chai des Mistelles to the dramatic arena of L’Enclos and the time-honoured process of the dodinage, before taking part in a cocktail masterclass held in Le Bar Noilly Prat. Here expert bartenders will unveil the secrets of their art and demonstrate how to create some of the world’s most timeless cocktails at home. Tickets start from €45 per person.
There’s generally considered to be three main brands of vermouth in the world that most, if not all bars and restaurants will stock. I’ve already featured two within my site, Martini Rossi and Cinzano, but I’ve finally been able to discover the third major presence, Noilly Prat. But compared to the stories of the two Italians, Noilly Prat begins its life out at sea with the French.
Lets take a look.
It’s long known that wooden barrels will ultimately change the characteristics of any liquid within, with the climate surrounding varying the degrees of flavours produced. This process was stumbled upon when wine use to be transported by sea, being exposed to the elements whilst being stored on deck. The long journeys meant that the wine carried a deeper flavour profile and colour compared to its original state, something that Joseph Noilly, a herbalist, wanted to take full advantage of. In 1813, Joesph worked on the process and recipe for what we would now know as Noilly Prat, ageing the wines outdoors and over four seasons. In 1850 Louis Noilly, son of Joseph, began ageing wines in the fishing village of Marseillan in the south of France, eventually forming a partnership with his son-in-law, Claudius Prat in 1855 from which Noilly Prat & Cie was founded and registered. Unfortunately, Louis Noilly died in 1865 and his daughter Anne-Rosine, widow of Claudius Prat, took over the running of the company for nearly 40 years.
But how is France’s first ever vermouth created?
The village of Marseillan produces the local grape varieties of Picpoul and Clairette which are then pressed and the must aged in oak casks that are themselves between 20 and 60 years old. These casks are then exposed to the elements of the Mediterranean in the walled enclosure of L’Enclos for 12 months. While this is happening, the indoor cellars in La Maison Noilly Prat (built by Louis Noilly around 1850) is the Chai des Mistelles which houses vast Canadian oak vats that can hold up to 40,000 litres of wine. Here the mistelles wines are matured for 12 months which ensures slow oxidisation, producing a rich, golden wine by the end of the ageing process.
Once matured, the two wines are brought together before a secret selection of herbs and spices are macerated for three weeks, then carefully extracted. Afterwards, the wine is allowed to rest for six more weeks.
So how does the range fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Noilly Prat Original Dry – 18%
Herbs and spices within include Roman Chamomile and Gentian from France, Nutmeg from Indonesia and Bitter Orange from Tunisia.
Sweet aromas on the nose with a fresh herbal note, slight citrus and well-rounded feel. Slightly bitter on the palate, although smooths off to a light texture, yet a growing bold hit of chamomile, wood and fennel. A little dry on the finish, but the smoothness delivers.
Noilly Prat Ambré – 16%
First produced in 1986. Herbs and spices include cardamom, cinnamon and lavender.
Fresh, rich aromas of banana, vanilla and orange on the nose. Lots of sweetness coming through, especially once upon the palate. Cinnamon, aromatic orange and plenty of herbal flavours blend well together before producing a long, slightly dry, bitter spice finish.
Two of the more easier to drink vermouths on the market, and I can only imagine the Rouge expression will be just as good. In the meantime though, I’ll be enjoying one of these, heralded by Martini di Arma di Taggia, the famous head bartender at the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York in 1911/12, who declared that Noilly Prat Original Dry was an essential ingredient of his “martini cocktail”, one of the very earliest examples of the classic dry martini cocktail.
The Classic Dry Martini
1 part Noilly Prat Original Dry
2 parts Grey Goose vodka or Bombay Sapphire gin
Dash of orange bitters
Lucques Olive or twist of lemon
Place all the ingredients in a mixing glass filled with ice and stir well for 20 seconds. Single strain into a classic cocktail glass and garnish with a Lucques olive or twist of lemon.
Noilly Prat is also famous for its food pairings, with this French classic probably one of the most well known –
L’Apéritif & Oysters
Served in the fashionable cafés of France; it is traditionally served before dining as it whets the appetite.
2 parts Noilly Prat Original Dry
Twist of lemon
Add ice into the wine glass and pour the Noilly Prat Original Dry. Stir once and take the peel of a lemon and squeeze over the glass. Garnish with the twist of lemon and pair with oysters for a French touch.
Noilly Prat, despite now being owned by Bacardi-Martini, retains its French heritage and inspiration to create not only some classic and unique serves, but a range that offers a difference to your usual Italian vermouths. More acceptable for most I would say, and great t introduce people to the category of vermouth. Vermouth has grown leaps and bounds this past year, with many small, artisan producers releasing liquids to capture the resurgence of a category that has been around for over 100 years now. Stock up for a spot of elegance within your food and drink offerings, or indeed look out for the range within your favourite bar. I’m hoping you won’t be disappointed.