The famous Vermouth Di Torino (Turin) is the name given to wine flavored with a variety of herbs and spices. Among these, wormwood stands out in particular because of its bitter taste. The recipe for this liqueur has remained unchanged since it was first created and so it retains an unmistakable style and flavor which distinguishes it from others. It is produced by means of a maceration process: some fifty different plants are used which acquire their aromas through gradual infusion into the wine base.
No chemical additives or colorings are added at any point in the production process nor is the alcohol content reduced by distillation such as other liqueurs such as sambuca or chartreuse; on the contrary, it is macerated with its botanical constituents by infusing in alcohol and water which is reduced to 40% volume.
A particular feature of this liqueur is that wormwood has a very low alcohol tolerance meaning that just a few milliliters too many can wreak havoc on the flavor. It, therefore, follows that each bottle carries an alcohol content of 16° or 18° depending on whether it is destined for the home market or the export market respectively.
Moreover, Vermouth di Torino has a delicate flavor, spicy and smooth which cannot be achieved through any other process without losing some of its natural characters so it only makes sense to produce this liqueur using traditional production methods instead of copying foreign recipes or attempting to improve upon them.
The original recipe for Vermouth di Torino was drawn up by a group of wine merchants in the city at the beginning of the 19th century and it has remained unchanged ever since so today’s version is pretty much identical to that which you could buy from their shop three hundred years ago.
The Di Torino brand itself has been owned by a small family company since the 1960s who have succeeded in maintaining its artisanal nature throughout this time even though this style of production inevitably results in lower quantities being produced compared to commercially-run businesses.
All production is carried out using just ten huge oak casks at any one time, proof if it were needed that quality can still triumph over quantity when done properly. The aging process continues uninterrupted for a full three years which is longer than most other brands on the market and this inevitably increases the resulting alcohol content of Di Torino to 18°.
The recipe for Vermouth di Torino calls for more than fifty different plants to be used in its production so finding them all presents something of a challenge during harvesting time, especially given that most of them grow wild and cannot be cultivated. Among these, there are some unusual herbs such as belladonna (deadly nightshade) and wormwood itself which grows in abundance in the nearby countryside. The latter has been used by humans since Neolithic times; we know, for example, that it was consumed during funeral rites in ancient Egypt whereas our ancestors steeped it in wine or water before drinking it to cure stomach ache and expel intestinal parasites.