Sunday, September 1, 2019


Something that I had planned for this summer was to really explore vermouth. I've had at the back of my mind to do so for a while, trying the Regal Rogue range at a trade show last autumn pushed it up my agenda, and Jack Adair Bevan's book, 'A Spirited Guide to Vermouth' which came out late spring made it feel like a matter of urgency.

Unfortunately circumstances interfered; impending redundancy has put a check on extravagant vermouth buying, and made getting the product knowledge less of a motivating factor. On the other hand I still think this is one of the most exciting drink categories around, it has something of the rediscovered/forgotten/rescued classic vibe about it which is still such a trend in publishing, and I've still got a lot to add to the bits I've already written about it.

Vermouth is undoubtedly becoming more fashionable, but that fashion hasn't really reached Leicester yet. The rise and rise of the negroni is helping to rehabilitate Rosso styles (sales of Campari have increased dramatically in the last few years, gin has been massive for a while now, I sell a good bit of Campari's pre mixed negroni, but nothing like the same amount of vermouth, which makes me worry about what people are using when they mix these things at home) but there's still a reluctance to spend more than a minimum, and no sense that people are really embracing vermouth on its own terms.

This is really worth doing, there's a lot to discover and a lot to be enthusiastic about. There are also a couple of basic things to keep in mind. The first is that Vermouth doesn't keep indefinitely once it's open. A bottle is going to be best drunk within about a month, there's no need to overdo it, but it wants commiting to. The second thing is that it's worth spending a bit of money on a good brand.

That doesn't mean that every bottle has to be a £30+ obscure artisanal masterpiece, or anything like it,   just that it's not worth cutting corners. Vermouth will have a considerable impact on whatever drink it's in, so don't compromise on quality. The major brands are a reasonable place to start, they've not survived for such a long time by being terrible.

I'm also going to recommend 'A Spirited Guide to Vermouth' again - it's a fascinating book written by someone who is obviously an enthusiast as well as an expert, and it's a really good guide if you want to be quite adventurous in your vermouth exploration.

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