The Cheers! crew is always looking for new Michigan products for cocktails and other drinks. Tammy Coxen with Tammy’s Tastings hunts high and low.
“This is one of the most unique products I’ve come across recently,” she said. “It’s a Michigan-made sweet vermouth,” she explained, holding up the Brengman Brothers Piccolo Dito Vermouth. Brengman Brothers is based at the Crain Hill Vineyard near Traverse City.
The sweet vermouth is made with 100% Michigan-grown Chambourcin grapes, maple syrup from the Leelanau Peninsula, and herbs and spices from around the world.
Compared to other sweet vermouths, Coxen says it’s a little bit fruitier. “I really enjoy that, and it seems to work well in a variety of vermouth cocktails.
Coxen’s choice to feature the vermouth is called Rhum Dandy Shim. “It’s a take on a classic drink, the Rhum Dandy. Shim means it’s lower in alcohol than your typical cocktail such as a Manhattan or Old Fashioned.
Rhum Dandy Shim
1 oz sweet vermouth
1/2 oz white Martinique rhum
1/2 oz lime juice
1 tsp rich (2:1) demerara syrup
2 dashes Absinthe
Combine all ingredients in shaker with ice. Shake, strain into ice-filled old fashioned glass. Garnish.
To make demerara syrup, bring 1/2 cup water to boil, then add 1 cup demerara/turbinado sugar (such as Sugar in the Raw) and simmer until completely dissolved. Let cool and store refrigerated.