The Beauty Beneath

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Try this.” The wine rep looked determined. The wine salespeople in town usually know better than to waste their time with me, as I have little-to-no influence on the wine list. If it’s a distilled product you’re trying to push then I’m the man behind the bar to talk to. Otherwise, you’ll probably want to save your breath.

“It’s an Italian aperitivo and I think you’ll really like it.” She was aware of my fondness for Negronis and such and was certain I’d take a liking to the bottle of Vergano Americano she was presenting to me. Reminiscent of the drink of the same name, this Americano was a special type of Italian aperitif referred to as a chinato.

Chinati are Italian fortified wines, similar to vermouth. Originally solely flavored with quinine, they took on a life of their own sometime around the late 19th century and came to be infused with various herbs and other flavors. There is most certainly orange peel and possibly caramelized sugar in this product.


Chinati are pretty rare finds in this country. If you can’t find Americano, try talking to the importer, or experiment with other fortified wines – Dubonnet rouge might make for an interesting choice, as would Lillet rouge.

I had to have this bottle, but living in a small town sometimes means that the more esoteric liquors on the shelf don’t move as quickly as I’d like them to. Since I was afraid to buy a case and have it sit behind the bar waiting for me to hand-sell each individual glass, I figured it was time for a cocktail.

After several rounds of base liquors and bitters selections, it was time to try it out on the unsuspecting. “It’s quite strong, but really pretty right below the surface,” was the first comment I received.

So, voila:

If you can find the Fee Brothers’ Whiskey Barrel Aged bitters, grab ’em. Unfortunately, my only bottle was in service when I stopped by the bar to pick up supplies for the photoshoot.


The Beauty Beneath Print Me

  • 2 oz/60 ml Appleton Estate Signature Blend rum
  • 1 oz/30 ml Vergano 'Americano' chinato
  • ½ oz/15 ml Cointreau
  • 1 dash Fee Brothers' Old-Fashioned bitters
  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass.
  2. Stir with ice until chilled.
  3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  4. Express the oils from an orange twist over the surface of the drink and drop the spent twist into the drink.

Recipe printed courtesy of

27 Replies to “The Beauty Beneath”

  • Jeff Frane says:

    Just finished another one of these, made with the Methusalem and the whiskey-barrel aged bitters. Now I must find something to keep myself busy with so I won’t make another.

    This is a beautiful and delicious cocktail, Jeffrey. And I think I’m finally starting to get rum.

  • Thanks, Jeff. I’m glad you’re enjoying the drink.

  • Psst…

    Use the Vergano Americano in cocktails which call for Dubonnet Rouge.


  • Joe M says:

    Anyone know if I can find Barolo Chinato in SF CA?

  • Joe, That I know of, both K&L and Plump Jack often carry the Cocchi Barolo Chinato.

  • terry says:

    Hi Jeff,
    Thanks for all the good info on your website.
    I just recently tried the Americano at a hotel up in Yountville, Ca. I purchased a bottle and my daughter and I finished it off pretty quickly.
    It has such a unique flavor.. I wish I could get it locally instead of from New York…(I think that’s where I got it)..It is my new favorite.
    I’m going to try some of your receipes.

    If you have any other suggestions for Chintos that you think are fabulous, let me know..

    I do like the sweeter flavors…


  • terry says:

    omg.. i just noticed no one has written on here since ’09.. I hope you get this…

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