The Hotel Starlino is a fresh vermouth range from the founder of Malfy Gin. The packaging takes its inspiration from Art Nouveau design and architecture, or Stile Liberty as it is known in Italy. Hotel Starlino range comes in old-fashioned apothecary-style bottles with ceramic and wooden stoppers, reminiscent of an antique doorknob. The front label resembles a vintage luggage tag and the back label features an old fashioned ‘Do Not Disturb’ door hanger.
Anyone else getting Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel vibes?!
Believe me when I say you’ll want to experiment with these bottles this summer. The flavours will uplift any aperitivo hour and bring a little piece of Italy to your home!
Organise an Italian aperitivo at home! Here’s how: The Ultimate Guide to Hosting an Aperitivo!
What exactly is in Hotel Starlino?
The Starlino range includes three types of vermouth. Vermouth is a fortified wine flavoured with a variety of botanicals, anything from roots, flowers and herbs to seeds, fruit and spices. All vermouths, sweet or dry, have a white wine base. Like the Hotel Starlino range, the first modern version of sweet vermouth was made in Turin, Italy. The Starlino is produced by Torino Distillati.
Starlino Rosé Aperitivo, 17% ABV, is a pink vermouth. The ingredients list is citrus-forward with pink grapefruit, lemon and orange peel. Other botanicals listed include wormwood, elderflower, coriander, strawberries, raspberries, thyme, cloves and many other herbs and spices. Starlino Rosé is a fresh addition to any aperitif. Absolutely delicious.
Starlino Arancione Aperitivo, 17% ABV, is an orange vermouth. The ingredients include orange, lemon and pink grapefruit peel, elderflower, angelica, thyme and cloves and a few more botanicals to bring out those lovely bittersweet flavours you want from an aperitivo drink.
Starlino Rosso Vermouth, 17% ABV, is a traditional sweet Vermouth di Torino, which is aged in ex-bourbon barrels to add vanilla and spice. The botanicals list includes wormwood, cloves, vanilla, rhubarb, ginger, cinchona tincture, grape skin, raisins, bitter orange peel and other herbs and spices.
The botanicals are extracted and distilled before being blended with a spirit and wine base. Both Rosé and Arancione have a Trebbiano wine base, and Rosso Vermouth uses a blend of three white wines: Trebbiano and Sicilian Ansonica and Cataratto wines as well as Marsala wine (Sicilian fortified wine). While the Rosso spends 30 days in the oak, the aperitivos are rested in stainless-steel tanks for six months. Before bottling, each vermouth goes through a chill filtration.
The Hotel Starlino range also includes Maraschino cherries which have been aged for two weeks in their natural Marasca juice before being left to rest for one more week for the ideal flavour. These cherries are the perfect addition to any aperitivo cocktail.
How to serve Starlino
Both aperitivos work perfectly in a spritz; simply use one part of your chosen aperitivo with three parts of Prosecco, and skip the soda. Alternatively, serve on the rocks or simply with some soda or tonic water to create a refreshing low-ABV summer drink. Garnish with an orange or pink grapefruit slice. These aperitivos are versatile but at the same time can be used the same way, so you always get two different drinks from the same ingredients.
Starlino Vermouth Rosso makes an ideal Negroni, whether a classic serve, Sbagliato (Prosecco instead of gin) or a Manhattan (with whisky).
If you are looking for something more creative, you might like the recipes below.
Sex and the (Eternal) City – a take on the Cosmopolitan
35ml Starlino Rosé
35ml Vodka (I used Archie Rose because I find it a little floral, but any vodka would do)
15ml Cranberry syrup
20ml Fresh lime juice
Shake all ingredients with ice and double strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a Hotel Starlino cherry.
Once and Floral– a fun way to make cocktails
25ml Starlino Rosé
35ml Gin (I used Empress Gin)
15ml Hibiscus syrup
3 Lemon slices
For this cocktail you will need a French press. Mine is fairly small, therefore it only makes one cocktail, but you could make a larger batch with a bigger press. A great way to minimise all the shaking and stirring if you have guests.
First muddle the strawberries at the bottom of the press. Add mint and lemon slices and muddle a little more. Add the remaining ingredients and leave it to rest for five minutes. Once the time is up, gently press the fruit on the bottom and pour over an ice-filled glass.
25ml Starlino Rosso
25ml Strawberry-infused Campari
Prosecco (or dry sparkling Rosé)
Orange twist garnish
First add Starlino Rosso and Campari into a cocktail glass and stir. Top up with Prosecco and garnish with an orange twist. You could also choose to use a wine glass or a tumbler with ice.
*To make the infusion, simply add sliced strawberries into Campari and leave to macerate in the fridge for three days. Give it an occasional stir. Strain and store in the fridge.
Are you familiar with the Hotel Starlino range? What is your favourite aperitivo cocktail?
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Biggar & Leith, but, as always, all photos and opinions are my own.