This post is coming to you with all the conviction and enthusiasm you could expect from the recent convert. Sometime a couple of years back I went from someone who probably had a bottle of dry white vermouth around, mostly for cooking with, to someone who has a lot more vermouth than that around.
It was a slow burning sort of affair until this year when I read Jack Adair Bevan’s ‘A Spirited Guide to Vermouth’ and tried a lot more vermouth and vermouth based cocktails. The more I get to know the more interesting it becomes so I’m particularly pleased to have been given a couple of bottles for my birthday (an amazing sounding Rosso made by Bramley and Gage, and the Regal Rogue Bold Red which is a dry Australian Vermouth that kick started my interest a couple of years ago).
The thing I love about Vermouth is how endlessly versatile it is, and the variety it comes in. The Regal Rogues have much less sugar than most Vermouth, owing (if I remember anything like correctly) to the natural sweetness of the riper Australian grapes and some of the local botanicals (please don’t quote me on this, it’s a half remembered conversation from 2 years ago with a rep during a lengthy wine tasting). They recommend it principally as a long drink, in this case with ginger ale, over plenty of ice and garnished with orange. The other suggestion on the website is to reverse classic cocktails, flipping around the proportions of vermouth to spirit.
Both sound like a good idea, both mean you’re keeping a slightly better control on the amount of alcohol you’re drinking. The abv of Vermouth isn't much above that of wine, so as a long drink it’s not going to knock you out. A well chosen* bottle with an accompanying book such as ‘The Spirited Guide to Vermouth’, or Kate Hawkins ‘Aperitif’ is my idea of a decent present. Both these books are decent introductions, a quick look at amazon tells me there are more to choose from.
This is the perfect gift for anybody of a foody persuasion, or who has a love of cocktails.
By well chosen I mean anything that’s a step up from a supermarket own label, or the basic martini range - we can all buy those for ourselves, but those aside there’s a lot of choice from around £10 up.