BAROLO ON THE ROCKS? SURE, AS LONG AS IT’S CHINATO
Summertime is associated with some prejudiced ideas when it comes to red wine. Most people think that only white wines can accompany a long evening under the stars or lunches based on fresh fruits and vegetables. But many red wines like Dolcetto or Barbera can give fabulous “ruby chills” when served slightly cooler than the normal serving temperature (14° or even 12°C).
But when it comes to Barolo…the general consensus is no, don’t drink Barolo in the summer! Well, we’re going to break this rule and show you that even the “king of wines” can be appreciated—and very much so—during the hot summer days, especially in its lesser known and intriguing form of Barolo Chinato.
WHAT IS BAROLO CHINATO?
Barolo Chinato is a wonderful aromatized wine. It is an aged Barolo wine to which alcohol-infused spices are added (particularly the bark of the Cinchona tree), sweetened with sugar, and left to age in small casks. Only 100% Barolo DOCG may be used to make this mysterious wine with its top-secret ingredients. The recipes for Barolo Chinato are jealously guarded by producers, and are passed down from generation to generation.
BEST TASTED ALONE OR PAIRED WITH FOOD?
The pleasantly bittersweet flavor of Barolo Chinato and its rich aromatic spiced notes with its round, enveloping body make it the perfect drink as an appetizer or for after dinner. But Barolo Chinato is also perfect on the rocks, mixed into cocktails and paired with dessert, particularly chocolate—and even with gelato.
Let’s look at some food pairings that will make you appreciate Barolo Chinato and see it in a new light this summer.
ON THE ROCKS
“Wine and ice is taboo!” you say, but Barolo Chinato is so versatile that it retains its elegance when drunk like a cocktail. When served on the rocks, it transforms into a refreshing digestif, or digestivo, that is perfect to enjoy after a caffè or with a chocolate dessert. You’re sure to have sweet dreams.
AS A VERMOUTH
Mixology with wine is an extremely delicate art. The risk lies in diminishing the characteristics of a drink that, in theory, is already perfect when savored on its own. But Barolo Chinato is perfectly mixable, and it smoothly covers the ground from the austerity of Barolo to the ease of substituting for vermouth. Over the years, various cocktails have emerged that use Chinato and exalt its flavors beautifully.
Sante Schena, barman and teacher of AIBES (Italian Barman and Supporters Association) proposes this recipe:
TONIC – Barolo Chinato and tonic water. Simple, refreshing, and bubbly, with a bitter note that cleans the mouth and opens the stomach. Perfect with appetizers.
Its preparation is simple:
- 3/10 Barolo Chinato
- 7/10 tonic water
- 7-8 ice cubes
Add the ice cubes to a long drink glass and pour Barolo Chinato over, then add the tonic water. Mix and garnish as desired.
CU-CU (Cuneo – Cuba) – Cocktail that highlights the flavors of Barolo Chinato with the Cuban Cuba Libre.
- 4/10 white rum
- 6/10 Barolo Chinato
- Slice of lemon
- Ice, as needed
Fill a tumbler with ice to cool the glass. Discard the excess water and ice. Pour in rum and Barolo Chinato, mix, and serve with a slice of lemon.
Barolo Chinato becomes the star of the show with a tasty Italian Sangria. Here is the special, unique recipe:
- 1 orange
- 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar
- 75 ml Barolo Chinato
- Whipped cream
In a mixing glass, smash the orange and add the sugar, then pour in Barolo Chinato. Mix and filter into a wine glass, then top with whipped cream.
- WELCOME TO THE DARK SIDE
Barolo Chinato Marcarini is the special ingredient of the cocktail called the “Darkside.” Created by Adam Bernbach, acclaimed mixologist from the USA, the Darkside pairs the bittersweet Barolo Chinato with refreshing Plymoth Gin and flowery gentian notes of Peychaud’s Bitters. A mix for the true connoisseur.