Armando Testa

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Armando Testa (1917-?)
Carpano King
Reveling in its role as ''The King of Vermouth,'' the Carpano company shares a toast with King Verdi, going so far as to display a bottle of the dark & spicy-sweet liqueur as a hood ornament for the first Fiat. Created in 1786 by G. B. Carpano of Turin, the first modern vermouth, composed of fortified white wine sweetened with sugar and flavored with herbs--owes its name, as legend would have it, to an overworked 19th century stockbroker. Punt e Mes translates literally as ''Point and a half.'' During that time, it was common practice to add bitters to vermouth, with drinkers asking for ''points'' of the bitters to be added according to their taste. When the fatigued trader came into the popular Carpano bar after a long day at the Borsa (Stock Market), he distractedly raised his hand and called ''Punt e mes,'' a phrase which he had been habitually calling for hours on the trading floor. Everyone laughed, but the name stuck.