Perfect cocktail: When paired with gin in this classic cocktail, sweet and dry vermouths are well balanced. (We used Cinzano Rosso and Noilly Prat French Dry.) The simple proportions mean making a pitcher in advance is a cinch for summer entertaining. For a single drink, stir 1 ounce gin and 1 ounce each of sweet and dry vermouths in a mixing glass with ice until well chilled. Strain and pour into a rocks glass filled with ice. Add a few dashes of bitters to taste. Garnish with a twist of orange peel. (Bill Hogan, Chicago Tribune / July 12, 2010)

Taste: Good luck.
Best enjoyed... When a powerful sweetener is called for. Not for sipping. Ever.
Price: $8

Martini & Rossi Rosato
Details: Introduced this spring, M&R's fruity newcomer marketed for cocktails.
Taste: Like a Campari knockoff: herbal, but too sweet to sip neat.
Best enjoyed... With a cheap prosecco, or in sangria or fruit-forward cocktails.
Price: $10

Gallo Sweet
Details: Half the price of others, which makes it popular for culinary use.
Taste: Like an Italian dessert: sweet, dried fruit and a medicinal bite.
Best enjoyed... In sturdier cocktails or dining recipes that call for herbal flavors.
Price: $4

Gallo Extra Dry
Details: The bargain alternative to Martini & Rossi's equivalent.
Taste: Thin, with an odd blend of candy and tropical florals.
Best enjoyed... In a lighter cocktail, but not meant for sipping.
Price: $4