If you were asked to identify the key turning points for cocktails at the moment, what are you going to say? Gin, small batch whisky? What about vermouth?
Back in the eighties, every household had a bottle of vermouth stashed away in the drinks cabinet. But vermouth quickly fell out of fashion and was only ever used as an ingredient in the odd cocktail or two. Now it’s making a comeback, quickly becoming one of the most ‘on trend’ things you can drink.
Vermouth is a bartenders dream; finely crafted, layers of flavour, centuries of tradition and perfection, unique production methodology and secret formulas; so it’s hardly surprising that nowadays it’s one of the key ingredients in the ever-growing cocktail culture.
We take so much care to extract the finest nuances of flavour for our cocktails, experimenting with scientific and creative details, yet the element that will modify our drinks more radically than any other is in danger of being an afterthought, or at least a poorly informed choice of the usual suspects. But that is changing; some of us have taking to modifying our modifiers or even producing our own.
Before taking such steps it seems sensible to explore the rich tapestry of available products more fully. There is a panoply of houses, maisons and bodegas, producing wholly unique labours of love, of all house styles. New players are entering the market – seeing the inevitability of demand – old recipes are being unearthed and the global marketplace is bringing ancient producers to new markets.
The rise of the aromatic cocktail is only beginning and the consumption of vermouth is set to change as well. The Negroni twist is the mark of every bartender’s creativity and countless cocktail competitions. The Americano and long, vermouth-based coolers, particularly the V&T, are appearing on more and more cocktail lists as our palates, lifestyle (often opting for a lower alcohol option in pursuit of a healthier lifestyle) and our fashion-sense, seeks even more authenticity and sophistication.
We strive to keep ahead of this revolutionising trend with our ever expanding portfolio of vermouths. Ranging from the classic dry vermouths such as Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry to the not so classics, made form all sorts of weird and wonderful botanicals, including Ferdinand’s Saar Dry Riesling Vermouth, infused with vintage Grand Cru Riesling and Italian vermouth brand Contratto.
For something a little more off the radar try L.N Mattei Cap Corse from Corsica. Rather than the usual wormwood, which is typically used to make vermouth, this apéritif wine is aromatised with quinquina (a bush tree from central America producing quinine); making it the ideal aromatic filler for your favourite cocktails.
So depending on what you’re after, we’ve got an extremely versatile range that taste just as good on their own, served over ice as they do mixed in cocktails.
‘Viliant vermouths steeped in history from Piedmont’
An aromatic blend of herbs and spices gently infused with white wine and Italian brandy.
A well-balanced boutique apéritif, made from a concoction of white wine fortified with Italian brandy with 30 delicately infused with herbs and spices.
The americano draws from much the same pool of botanicals and serves a similar function to each of the Contratto Vermouths.
‘Created by the founders of the world class Athens bar The Clumsies‘
Slightly bitter with fresh rose petal, citric and vanilla tones.
‘The last remaining producer of Vermouth de Chambéry and the only vermouth AOC in the world’
Rich orange citrus aromas, with a luscious, toffee character.
A gentle sweetness, with tropical, almost lychee flavours, followed by a bitter clove finish.
An abundance of herbs and spices of almond, citrus, pear and violet.
‘The first Riesling vermouth in the world’
The very first dry Riesling vermouth from the Saar region; a floral yet spicy character, promising supreme drinking pleasure.
Made from vintage Grand Cru Riesling, infused with 12 carefully selected botanicals.
L.N Mattei Cap Corse, Corsica
‘It is a quinquina, not a vermouth’
Fresh citrus and floral notes, with a smooth and delicate profile at first sip.
Rich citrus and floral flavours, with a powerful dry quinquina bitterness on the palate.