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Babco Europe revives the Vin Mariani

Vin Mariani has returned – 153 years after its creation and 102 years after being banned.

Babco Europe has released the first small batch production of  Vin Mariani, a vin tonique made from an exceptional Bordeaux wine fortified with Peruvian Coca leaf, in Amsterdam, Seoul, Sydney, London and Dublin.

Vin Mariani was created by Angelo Mariani in Paris in 1863.  The original recipe died along with Angelo Mariani in 1914 and as the result of legal restrictions placed on the Coca leaf.  However, after several years of research, Angelo’s secrets have been revealed by experts using documents from the late 1800s and advanced modern pharmacopeia techniques.

CEO of Babco Europe, Mark Wilson, describes Vin Mariani as “rich dark ruby red in colour, with deep lush honeyed fruit flavours, racy acidity and an earthy aroma that has an elegant, powerful and smooth finish”. It is 22% ABV and available in 500ml bottles. A small number of cases have been released to distributors this month in several markets and the brand will be available for general delivery at the end of the month (January 2017).

“Vin Mariani should be enjoyed neat, chilled, with ice or mixed with cola. It is amazing that the release of the brand after 153 years is on trend again as a vital ingredient to create super premium wine cocktail recipes both vintage and contemporary,” he adds.

The history of the brand is extraordinary. Since 1863 Vin Mariani has been collecting international awards, Papal medals, celebrity endorsements and iconic advertising. Angelo Mariani is heralded as the father of modern advertising for his pioneering endorsement campaigns that showcased genuine support from luminaries such as: Pope Leo Xlll, Jules Verne, Queen Victoria, HG Wells, Empress of Russia, Sarah Bernhardt, Ulysses S. Grant and Thomas Edison.

There were many attempts to copy Vin Mariani, notably in the US by JS Pemberton who was ultimately forced in 1886 by local county prohibition to produce a non-alcoholic version, which he launched under the brand name Coca Cola.

In 1975 Vin Mariani was identified as the secret ingredient in the original San Franciso Pisco Punch served in the city’s Bank Exchange saloon to patrons such as Mark Twain, his fireman friend Tom Sawyer and Rudyard Kipling who described the ruby wine secret ingredient in the recipe as “compounded of the shavings of cherub’s wings”.

3 January 2017 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor-in-chief