Cinzano: A guided tour of Turin on the Bartender Magazine Italian Aperitivo Tour

For Cinzano, since there is not a physical place to visit dedicated to the brand, we had a guided tour in Torino by Martina Doglio Cotto (@grape_stories) with a focus on the vermouth history, passing by its landmarks, where the product was born in 18th century (including the ancient Via Dora Grossa, nowadays Via Garibaldi, home to the first Bottega Cinzano the shop).

The tour was followed by a guided tasting in an historical bar – Vermuttino – where we tasted the Cinzano range both neat and in cocktails. All the tastings were paired with traditional Torinese finger food.

The doorway to where Cinzano began, which is now privately owned

About Cinzano
Started by brothers Giovanni Giacomo and Carlo Stefano Cinzano about 260 years ago, they are widely considered some of the founding fathers of vermouth in Italy.

The house was founded in 1757 in Torino where the name Cinzano, when it was not yet a brand but simply the surname of a family from the hill town Pecetto, was forever bound with the art of producing vermouths, liqueurs and wines. In 1815 the opening of the shop in Torino in Via Dora Grossa (now Via Garibaldi) marks the start of the great leap from a small family-run artisanal activity to a major industrial enterprise.

Thanks to an advertising strategy – drawing on the collaboration of great artists, from Adolf Hohenstein to Leonetto Cappiello, from Nico Edel to Raymond Savignac – and to the work of the tireless travelling salesmen (Giuseppe Lampiano and the Carpaneto brothers), the name Cinzano became a household name.

The Cinzano range

Cinzano Classico was born in the late 1700’s at the bottega of Carlo Stefano and Giovanni Giacomo Cinzano. They were constantly experimenting with new recipes and techniques, that would appeal to the newly refined palates of the people of Torino.

The city, the centre of the Savoy Kingdom, was starting to boom, and had a deep appreciation for local specialties, including aromatised wines and distilled liqueurs. The Cinzanos tried infusing and sweetening their wine concoctions, constantly innovating. This led to the creation of Cinzano’s signature vermouth, the secret formula of which still forms the base of the Cinzano Vermouth we enjoy today.

Cinzano Tasting at Vermuttino with Martina Doglio Cotto

Tasting the Cinzano range at Vermuttino
We were lucky that the team at Vermuttino (a gorgeous and historic cocktail bar) opened the doors for us on our tour of Turin with Martina Doglio Cotto. We were treated to a full tasting of the Cinzano vermouth range with traditional aperitivo dishes. This is where we learned what to expect from traditional aperitivo – Russian Salad, grissini (Italian breadsticks which trace their heritage back to an Italian king who was told to eat ‘only crust’ to resolve his digestive issues) and tramezzino.