Let’s talk Vermouth
Posted on September 01 2015
‘Aperitivo’ culture has swept the streets of Florence, Milan and Turin for years and now has finally reached the shores of Britain. From the Aperol spritz to the classic Americano cocktail, vermouth is versatile, refreshing and on the march!
Indeed, vermouth has been tragically neglected here in Britain and it is very much our loss! Most of our experience with vermouth has been that lonely bottle of Martini Rosso, sat on the back bar of a local pub, oxidised and passed over for months at a time! Imagine you had opened a bottle of your favourite Margaux and left it for a few weeks before drinking…the same rules apply.
Thankfully, with the rise of cocktail culture within our bustling bar and restaurant scene, vermouth and aromatised wines are now being treated with the respect they deserve. Stored chilled and consumed within a month of opening they can be enjoyed neat, topped with soda or prosecco and most definitely in cocktails!
Vermouth in essence, is a blend of wine and botanicals. The sheer abundance of native berries, flowers, herbs and spices found in the foothills of the Alps and the south of France, lead to an endless array of intriguing flavours and combinations. Many of you will be familiar with grapes such as Clairette, Picpoul, Muscat and Trebbiano – all of which are used in the production of vermouth.
As a general rule of thumb, French vermouth is more rounded, softer and suitable for mixing with white spirits such as gin or vodka. Italian vermouth by contrast, often contains more bitter and herbal elements and can be more robust in style. As such they can be enjoyed in big, flavour packed cocktails such as a Manhattan or a Negroni.
Here at The Good Wine Shop we have a great range of vermouths for all occasions.
Or perhaps you want to experience Italian café culture in your own home with friends? Try Cocchi Americano with white grapefruit juice, orange peel and topped with soda – bitter, sweet, refreshing and perfect before dinner or in the sun!
Indeed many of you will be looking forward to the latest instalment of the James Bond franchise – Spectre – due to hit the screens on November 6th. 007′s favourite tipple – the Vesper Martini – originally called for Kinna lillet in the recipe. The Kinna in the name came from the quinine element in the vermouth which was removed by Lillet in 1986, changing somewhat the composition of the iconic drink. But fear not, Cocchi Americano contains a good dose of quinine and is now considered the best alternative for those looking to recreate Ian Fleming’s iconic drink!
Furthermore, you may be looking to emulate TV icon Don Draper (of Mad Men fame), by mixing up a Manhattan at home. Compliment a bottle of your bottle of Rittenhouse Rye whiskey with Carpano Antica Formula. Founded in 1786, its recipe has been kept a secret for almost 300 years. With flavours of chocolate, menthol, dates and prunes complimenting a Muscat base, this is one to try for those who enjoy full bodied wines with intensity!
So don’t forget, drink your vermouth fresh, store it in the fridge for no longer than a month and most importantly – enjoy!