Carpano Antica Formula – Sweet Vermouth from Heaven!

Cocktails of the carefully crafted variety are all the rage these days.  Hip watering holes with creative and talented ‘tenders are drawing in customers like flies on…

Nevermind that…
For those of you wanting to duplicate this cocktail experience at home, what is the starting point, the single most important thing you must do before you even pour a drop of elixir...?

Use good ingredients!
Just as in cooking, it all starts with what you put in.  You have to use top shelf ingredients to get a top shelf final result.  Which brings us to…

This is not some crazy baby food, but rather what may possibly be the best sweet vermouth gracing planet earth. 

Are you a Manhattan drinker?  Or perhaps a Negroni or Americano?  Sweet Vermouth is a highlight of these cocktails, and use of the Carpano Antica Formula is revelatory.  Your taste buds will be seriously happy campers!
Who do you thank for this adult beverage happiness? 

The time was 1786, the location was Turin, Italy.  Antonio Beneditto Carpano, studying to be an herbalist (a title bearing a different connotation these days?), invented the formula that brought forth all things Vermouth.  One such recipe was the Antica Formula, which has been faithfully recreated to this day.  White wine is the base, with botanicals including vanilla, saffron, wormwood, burnt sugar, and numerous other aromatics in the mix.  The refining process can last several months, which includes multiple quality control stages.  They take this stuff very seriously at the Fratelli Branca Distillerie, where the vermouth is made.  Word has it only three living humans know the entire recipe!
You can enjoy Carpano Anitca Formula on the rocks with an orange slice, or in the above mentioned cocktails.  Either way, I guarantee this is one fine palate pleaser!