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Hotel Starlino: Vermouth and the Aperitivo Reimagined

Published on: June 17, 2022 | Last Updated on June 20, 2022
Hotel Starlino lineup

Hotel Starlino Vermouth and Aperitivi is an innovative line of “Made in Italy” beverages, perfect before dinner—either neat, on the rocks, or as a mixed drink. 

This relatively new brand, owned and imported by New York-based Biggar & Leith, was first launched in late 2020. But vermouths (a combination of fortified wine and botanicals) have a long and rich Italian heritage. 

The so-called modern vermouths we drink today were first created in Turin, the capital of the Piedmont region in northeast Italy, during the second half of the 18th century.


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Are the drinks actually associated with a hotel?

No, there is no Hotel Starlino. It’s just the whimsical name given to this brand that’s making waves in the cocktail culture.

Starlino is marketed in heavy, apothecary-style bottles with colorful Art Nouveau labeling. The unique design is based on the architecture of the 1906 building of the Torino Distillati (owned by the Vergnano family) where the spirits are produced, just outside of Turin. You might say this is a virtual hotel for those who have worked here over the years. The building has a dramatic staircase with views of Monte Viso (Monviso).

Elaborating on the “hotel” theme, the ceramic and wood bottle stoppers have the shape and look of antique door knobs. The packaging features an elevator floor indicator, skeleton key, and bellman’s cap, all inspired by the grand hotels of Italy. The front label resembles ones you might find on vintage luggage, and the back label looks like an old-fashioned Do-Not-Disturb door hanger.

Based on their looks alone, these eye-catching bottles merit a prominent place in a home bar and make wonderful hostess gifts. 

Vermouth and more reimagined

Hotel Starlino Vermouths

Hotel Starlino Vermouths

Beppe Ronco, Master Distiller and winemaker at Torino Distillati explains that what was once old has become new again. “Torino is the birthplace of vermouth and here at Torino Distillati we’ve been making them for around 100 years,” he says.

“We are seeing a huge resurgence of interest in vermouth and aperitivos and wanted to create something new, fresh and delicious to bring this forgotten but wonderful category back to life. Vermouths are showing signs of being the next big thing.”

Beppe Ronco, Master Distiller and winemaker at Torino Distillati

Beppe Ronco, Master Distiller and winemaker at Torino Distillati

Available online and in stores in the U.S., all of the entries in the growing Starlino line are 17% ABV (about 34 proof in the U.S), capitalizing on the contemporary trend toward lower alcohol content cocktails:

Starlino Rose Aperitivo

The pink-label Starlino Rose Aperitivo blends the fresh, citrus flavors of Italian pink grapefruits, lemons, and orange peel with bittersweet botanicals that include elderflower, Italian strawberries, raspberries, and coriander. Signature serve: Try a Rose Spritz with tonic or sparkling water over ice, garnished with pink grapefruit or lemon.

Starlino Rosso Vermouth

The purple-label Starlino Rosso Vermouth is a classic, sweet red vermouth, made from Italian white wine, Sicilian Ansonica and Cararatto wines, and Marsala wine. Aged in Kentucky Bourbon Barrels for six months, it evokes a robust, warm, spicy aroma and vanilla flavor. The botanicals include closes, vanilla, ginger, grape skin, raisins, bitter orange, and cloves. Signature serves: Delicious in a Manhattan, Negroni or on the rocks.

Starlino Arancione Aperitivo

The orange-label Starlino Arancione Aperitivo (launched in March 2022) is semi-dry with a pleasant balance of sweet and bitter. It’s made with IGP-certified Italian blood oranges, lemon peels, and other herbs and spices and like the Rose Aperitivo, aged in stainless steel for six months. Signature serve: Delicious with tonic or soda, or as a spritz.

Starlino Orange

Starlino Orange

Sweet cherries on top

To complement the drinks, Starlino also exports jars of plump, ruby red Maraschino Cherries that can be used to garnish cocktails (such as Manhattans, Old-Fashioneds, and others).

Sourced from San Gennaro, Vesuviano (close to Naples) the cherries also taste delicious served over ice cream and other desserts.

Starlino Maraschino Cherries

Starlino Maraschino Cherries

 
“U.S. sales have been very strong,” says Starlino founder, Elwyn Gladstone. “The continued love of bartenders for two cocktails, the Negroni and the Manhattan, combined with their preference for using higher quality ingredients have meant that our sales of Rosso are continuing to grow. In terms of the Rose and Arancione, more drinkers are discovering the aperitivo, simple spritz drinks that are really driving sales.”
 
“Our Starlino Cherries are also flying off the shelves across the U.S.,” he adds.

Recommended Starlino Cocktails

These are some of the fun cocktails that can be made at home with Hotel Starlino Vermouth and Aperitivos:

Yield: 1 drink

Hotel Starlino Rose and Tonic

Starlino Rose and Tonic (credit @servedinlondon

This light refreshing aperitivo is made with Starlino Rose and Tonic water

Prep Time 2 minutes
Total Time 2 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 ounce Starlino Rose
  • 2 ounce Tonic Water

Instructions

  1. Add ice to a long stem glass
  2. Pour the ingredients over the ice
  3. Garnish with a frozen strawberry

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

1

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 354Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 88mgCarbohydrates: 65gFiber: 0gSugar: 65gProtein: 1g
Yield: 1

Hotel Starlino Orange Spritz

Starlino Arancione Spritz

The Starlino Orange Spritz is a riff on the Aperol Spritz, one of the most popular drinks in Italy. It also builds on the growing interest in Orange wines. The orange flavor in the vermouth iis distiled from Sicilian Blood Oranges.

Prep Time 2 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 ounce Starlino Arancione
  • 1-1/2 ounce Prosecco or another sparkling wine
  • 1-1/2 ounce club soda

Instructions

  1. Measure ingredients in a flute or stemmed glass.
  2. Slowly add ice.
  3. Garnish with an orange slice.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

1

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 241Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 17mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 0gSugar: 3gProtein: 0g
Yield: 1

Hotel Starlino Rosso Negroni

Starlino Negroni
Prep Time 2 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 ounce Starlino Rosso
  • 1-1/2 ounce Campari
  • 1-1/2 ounce Gin

Instructions

  1. Add Starlino Rosso, Campari, and Gin to an Old Fashioned Glass.
  2. Stir and serve
  3. Garnish with an orange twist and a Starlino Maraschino Cherry.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

1

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 217Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 0gSugar: 12gProtein: 0g


All photo credits: Hotel Starlino


For more cocktail recipes, check out this free 12-page download from Starlino

A cocktail ” from our in-house mixologist:

  • When Prosecco or other sparkling wines are poured directly on ice, the bubbles are immediately released. To preserve the beautiful bubbles and enhance the sensory experience of your drink, slowly add ice to the already poured Prosecco.

Ready to play mixologist? Check out this Starlino Old Fashioned Cocktail Kit on Amazon

 


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Starlino Vermouth & Aperitivos


 

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