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A true Italian icon, Martini & Rossi is just as much part of Italian culture as pasta, parmesan and even opera. But, the brand, a beloved vermouth and sparkling wine span of beverages, continues to evolve while simultaneously staying close to its heritage. Since 1863 and throughout the years after the company has offered over 9 types of vermouth and a handful of sparkling wines. From the original, “Rosso” to the more recent, “D’Oro”, Martini & Rossi has continually helped people around the world understand why vermouth is the beverage that will never go out of style as long as the top ingredients are used in its creation.

What’s brilliant about the products seen under the Martini & Rossi umbrella is how versatile they are. Of course the Prosecco or Asti are wonderful on their own or mixed with your favorite spirit, but the vermouth is a real star. The delicate Rosso with its herbal and woody flavors is perfect with a touch of Indian tonic. The Fiero is my personal favorite with the delectable citrus flavors paired with white wine and a touch of tonic over ice. The Bianco is for vanilla lovers due to the vanilla flowers at its heart and is a delicate and warm flavor especially lovely during winter.

We spoke with Martini & Rossi North American brand ambassador Fabio Raffaelli about the brand’s past, vermouth misconceptions and future plans.

IC: Why is Martini & Rossi special in the vermouth and sparkling wine sectors of alcohol?

FR: What sets Martini & Rossi apart is the legacy and longstanding tradition of the brand. In 1863, in a small town near Turin, Italy, Alessandro Martini and Luigi Rossi took over the National Wine & Spirits Distillery and crafted an iconic vermouth recipe that has endured for almost 160 years: the Martini & Rossi Rosso. Ever since, the brand has grown globally – known for its refreshing flavors, elevated style, and playful nature– but has always remained true to its pure Italian roots. Not too many brands can claim a 160 year legacy and continued innovation and relevance among young, contemporary consumers.

IC: What is the quintessential idea behind each product released into the market?

FR: Whether it’s the limited editions that celebrate our history or the classics loved by bartenders across the globe, every bottle of Martini & Rossi starts with the wines, carefully selected from only the best harvests to create the perfect blend. For example, we blend crisp white wines, together with carefully formulated combinations of aromatic fruit, barks, exotic spices and herbs to create a vermouth that’s been one of the most sought-after for generations

IC: What are common misconceptions about vermouth?

FR: One common misconception is that vermouth is only enjoyable in a martini cocktail. At Martini & Rossi, we take pride in our careful, masterful crafting to create a beautiful blend of botanicals that make irresistible variations of the beloved recipe. From our classic Rosso recipe, to newer, lower ABV vermouth options like Fiero, we make something for everyone, and that pair nicely in cocktails from a martini, to a negroni, and a sbagliato.

IC: What is the Martini & Rossi brand ethos?

FR: Martini & Rossi takes its iconic, traditional Italian roots and gives them a stylish, unique, contemporary twist. We are both playful and refined, fun and elegant, and we’re built around the core concept of time best shared with loved ones. Through our products, we hope to inspire connection by bringing people together to celebrate the fun, finer things in life.

IC: Are there any particular ways that people should consume Martini & Rossi products?

FR: The majority of Martini & Rossi’s products are designed so that they be enjoyed on their own or can be incorporated with other ingredients to make a cocktail (Vermouths).

For example, Martini & Rossi Fiero can be simply mixed with tonic or soda water – this 50-50 split, poured over ice, makes the Fiero & Tonic or the Fiero & Soda a perfect, refreshing, and elevated twist on the classic spritz. Similarly, a glass of our sparkling wines on their own make the perfect aperitif, but you can also use Fiero as a modifier for example combined with silver tequila in the classic Margaritas. The best way to enjoy and understand Vermouth is to drink it with soda over ice, in Italy we call this Vermuttino, (small vermouth) and it’s part of the classic Italian aperitivo tradition.

IC: What exciting things are on the horizon for Martini & Rossi in the near future?

FR: Martini & Rossi just launched two new, low-ABV products, called Floreale and Vibrante. These are designed to be low ABV alternatives to our classic aperitifs, so that everyone can enjoy apertivo hour! Floreale and Vibrante are already available in selects markets in the US, and we are excited to be rolling out these products nationally in the coming months.