After yesterday's success with the bianco vermouth, I assumed red vermouth would be a no-brainer. And yet... it didn't work that way. I put 3 oz. Punt e Mes red vermouth into a quart jar and hickory-smoked it two times, as with the white vermouth.
The result was very fragrant of woodsmoke, so my hopes were high. Tasting the vermouth on its own, it had a raw stale smoke finish to it. Thinking perhaps it would mellow when combined in a drink, I mixed a standard Manhattan.
2 parts Dad's Hat Rye (Vermouth-Barrel Finish)
1 part hickory-smoked vermouth
Dash Number 11 Cherry Bitters
While the smell of hickory was pleasant, the finish on the drink was somewhere between expressed coffee grounds and dirty ashtray. I mean, I finished the drink, but I won't make another one. Perhaps the vermouth was over-smoked, perhaps the hickory was just too much, perhaps a different red vermouth base? Lots of variables to mess around with, all for science.
Tomorrow, going off-script.