Topic of the Week 3/22/2019 - Master

is keeping up with the news last week with new Haut-Bailly labels/names. This is something that I always try to impress upon with people that I mentor  - you need to keep up with the news! That is part of what makes this profession so exciting, things change and evolve and we need to stay informed of them.

This week: Vermouth

Identify 6 different Vermouths from 6 different countries and "mix" 6 different drinks

I love the vermouth culture in Spain. They'll serve it on the rocks garnished with orange and olives or piparras. So good!

  • SPAIN: Yzaguierre Blanc. Delicious on the rocks with an orange peal!

    ITALY: Mancino Rosso Amaranto. Amazing on it's own. Strong enough to stand up in a Rob Roy with scotch and bitters. 

    USA: Brovo Pretty. Add this to a 3:2 Vodka Martini and watch all of the cool floral elements shine. 

    FRANCE: Dolin Dry. A perfect addition for a traditional Gin Martini with your favorite gin and a dash of orange bitters. 

    AUSTRALIA: Castagna. Be sacrilegious and use this non-Italian vermouth in a Negroni with some Campari and Gin. 

    AUSTRIA: Burschik .Try it in an Algonquin with rye and pineapple. 

  • Lustau, Spain: The prestigious sherry producer launched an excellent vermouth in Spain in late 2015, made from a base of amontillado and PX wines. Perfect on the rocks.

    Dolin Vermoputh de Chambéry Dry, France: A dry vermouth from the last independent producer in Chambéry. This region is the only one in France to have received an appellation d'origine contrôlée for its vermouths. Perfect for a Martinez cocktail.

    Belsazar Dry, Germany: Made with wines from the South Baden region, combined with fruit brandies from Schladerer and a selection of herbs, including wormwood. It is perfect on the rocks or mixed with lighter spirits.

    Antica Formula, Italy: From Carpano, home of the first ever vermouth, this vermouth is made to an original recipe dating from 1786. Manhattans anyone??

    Interrobang, USA: This is produced in Oregon's Willamette Valley. Pinot Noir and a small percentage of Viognier make up the wine blend, fortified with Clear Creek brandy and spiced with a variety of 11 proprietary botanicals. Bring on the Blood and Sand!

    7 Mares, Portugal: A Portuguese vermouth that I haven´t had the pleasure of tasting yet. 

  • UNITED STATES - Dan Petroski makes a vermouth under his Massican label.  The base is Tocai Friulano and the maceration sees ingredients like coriander, nutmeg, and wood from the Quassia amara plant - a bitter and medicinal component found in many traditional amari.  Dan even distills his own wine for the brandy addition. I am drinking this in a rocks glass over ice with a splash of sparkling mineral water.

    ITALY - Fred Jerbis vermouth is produced by Fred Cremasco in Friuli.  The base is white wine from the Verduzzo varietal, along with 25 botanicals for the maceration.  To highlight the complexity of this vermouth, try it as a Vermouth Cocktail - vermouth, Angostura, and a twist of orange.  

    SPAIN - Priorat Natur Vermut is made from local botanicals of Priorat that are infused in a base of Macabeo, Garnacha, and Pedro Ximénez.  Get a collins glass, fill with ice and a few ounces of Priorat Natur, and add a generous bit of sparkling water and you have a the best cream soda you have never had.  Traditionally in the region the vermouth is served on its own to accompany tapas style food including olives, nuts, and clams.

    FRANCE - La Quintinye is made in Cognac with a mistelle base of pineau des charentes.  While one might assume the prefix of “quin” is suggesting of cinchona in the mix, the vermouth is actually named after Jean-Baptiste La Quintinye, the in-house botanist for King Louis XIV.  The “dry” is perfect in a classic gin martini and gives a more herbaceous tone to the cocktail.

    SOUTH AFRICA - While not traditionally labeled a vermouth, Adi Badenhorst’s “Caperitif” looks and behaves like one.  A base of Chenin with an infusion of South African ingredients such as fynbos, naartjies (Satsuma mandarins) and geraniums. The bittering agents include African wormwood and cinchona bark.  This product is based on the mysterious Caperitif ingredient found in 20th century cocktail books.  The product allegedly had not been made for decades before Badenhorst’s reproduction. Try in a Corpse Reviver, in replacement of Lillet / Cocchi Americano.  

    ARGENTINA - Vermut Pichincha is crafted with a Malbec base and just 8 other ingredients, including juniper, cinnamon, and grapefruit.  Try in a modified Negroni, substituting Genever for Gin, or in a Martinez.