El Quinto Pino’s vermouth cocktail with cava and Aperol.

Vermouth cocktails as inspired by El Quinto Pino

The first time we ended up at El Qunito Pino a few years ago, it was the culmination of a quasi-successful tapas crawl around Manhattan–we ended up tarrying long enough in the city to go there when it opened at 5, and we had a nice little last spread of snacks. I was able to finally try their famed uni panini (a small sandwich filled with sea urchin roe) and enjoy my first taste of pig’s ear. When we were in New York in January, our hotel was only a few blocks away from the restaurant (as over the intervening years the place had morphed from a tiny bar to a tiny bar now attached to a full-fledged dining room) so we took a chance on finding a few seats at the bar and went there for dinner on our first night.

Vermouth cocktail as inspired by El Quinto Pino

Instead of opening up the area with the bar, the dining room is on the other side of the wall. You don’t lose the intimate setting of the bar from its original incarnation, but you also have a better shot of getting to sit down if you’d rather get a table. We were lucky–just as we walked in a couple was getting ready to leave their seats in the bar area, so we were seated and enjoying cocktails within a few minutes.

The last time we were here I mainly sipped on wine, so it was nice to see what they could do now that they presumably had a bigger selection of spirits at their disposal. My eye was caught by their vermouth cocktail (of course), a combination of vermouth and Aperol topped with cava and garnished with an olive and kumquat. Posting a slightly wobbly picture on Instagram, I immediately resolved to steal it…and then I got distracted with the whole house-buying thing.

Fortunately, the benefit of documenting stuff like this means you can always come back to it when you’re ready, so when I found kumquats still hanging out at the Teet, it felt like the perfect time to finally make this. We’ve been making French 75s for cocktail hour recently so this wasn’t much of a stretch, but it was nice to mix things up a bit. I like an equal amount of vermouth and Aperol in this drink (it makes it very Negroni-esque), but feel free to adjust to please your own palate.

And speaking of vermouth…I have something really cool to share with you on that front very soon. After all, it’s rose and vermouth season.

El Quinto Pino’s Vermouth Cocktail

Makes one drink

1.5 oz dry red vermouth (you know I’m a fan of Casa Mariol’s Vermut Negre)
1.5 oz Aperol
Cava, for topping
2 kumquats and/or olives for garnishing

In a shaker, combine the Aperol and vermouth with ice and shake well until cold. Pour into a cocktail glass or coupe and top with cava, and garnish with a few kumquats or olives as desired. Serve immediately.

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8 comments
  1. This sounds delicious. I’m a big fan of negroni and variations on those kinds of flavours. I admit that I had to google “cava” – I was pretty sure that you couldn’t mean the “kava” that you get in Pacific Islands, but I had to check to be sure. Confusion resolved! Spanish wine isn’t widely available where I live – will ordinary sparkling do?

    • Oh absolutely–something dry and sparkly will do nicely! ETA–you don’t need to go with anything expensive, either–just something enjoyable to drink that you’d use to make other sparkling wine cocktails like mimosas or similar.

  2. Brianne said:

    I had my first French 75 in New Orleans and LOVED it. And the Negroni remains my all time favorite cocktail. This is like their love child! I dig it.

    • It really is–it’s a Negroni with the gin replaced by sparkling wine.

  3. I’ve been intrigued by the cocktail recipes using Aperol–never used it myself but vow to this summer, when things heat up!

    • It’s quite good–it’s sweeter than Campari (it’s very grapefruit-y) and pairs really nicely with white wine (hence the popularity of the Aperol spritz!).

  4. this sounds – and looks – incredible. I’ve been slacking in the cocktails department recently. We have was was once a very classically cool, retro (well, when the house was built, it wasn’t retro) wet bar area that the former owners converted into more of a mini-desk/office space, and we’ve already made plans to return it to its former glory. This gives me more of a push to get on with it, already.

    • Oh it’s such a bummer that they converted it, but yay for bringing it back!

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