Review: Punt e Mes Vermouth

Review: Punt e Mes Vermouth

wb73gus-Bg2MTHlEjHJGmFSHXZTgtph_yLhOsxrJ7voCola brown in color and dense with flavor, the venerable Punt e Mes is pretty much at the end of the line in the world of sweet vermouth. As brand owner Branca puts it, “The story goes that back in 1870 a stock broker, caught up in a debate with a few colleagues at Bottega Carpano, ordered a vermouth laced with half a dose of quina liqueur using a Piedmont dialect expression: ‘Punt e Mes’ (roughly translatable as ‘one and a half’).”

Like the Alessio vermouths we recently reviewed, Punt e Mes blurs the line between a sweet vermouth and an amaro. The nose is intensely bitter, with just a trace of sweetness to it. On the body, bitter orange, cloves, and quinine dominate before giving way to a finish that’s loaded with coffee, cola, and ample prune notes. Hints of cinnamon, some sweeter citrus notes — both lemon and orange — and a touch of gingerbread also emerge from time to time. The finish is just about equally bitter and sweet, which is quite a remarkable feat, actually.

Not a vermouth to be trifled with, Punt e Mes is best experienced in moderation in cocktails that demand — or deserve — complexity.

16% abv.


Punt e Mes Vermouth




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. Nate on June 23, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Thanks for the review. What cocktails can you see this being a good fit?

    I have never given my vermouths much thought – I’ve got a dry and a sweet? Perfect, we’re stocked. But, in simple cocktails like Negronis and Manhattans it’s obviously a big contributor to the overall drink profile. Clearly I need to pay a little attention to what vermouth I use, and why.

  2. David R. Moran on June 29, 2019 at 9:01 pm

    The obvious choice, to my mind, though seldom mentioned so not all that obvious, is to make the world’s simplest excellent manhattans and negronis with it. What I do anyway, to raves.

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