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Vermouth, the refreshing appetite stimulator

MAGAZINE - Dry Tips

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As an excelsior appetizer, it’s a great appetite stimulator, basic in a vast amount of cocktails.

Vermouth, positions itself as a step between thirst and hunger, a moment to enjoy good company and chat about the weeks adventures and experiences, before heading towards lunch. It’s a synonym of an appetizer or a mixing base for a good cocktail, has consolidated its place in the spotlight as a solo artist.

The word Vermouth, proceeds from Germany, meaning wormwood. It describes itself as an aromatized wine with colours that vary between to broken white, from a straw yellow to an intense yellow and its flavour ranges between sweet to almost a dry and sour zing.

Its origins date back to ancient Greece, it seems that the creator was Hippocrates, who macerated wine with wormwood and other spices obtaining the wine, known then as ‘Hippocratical’. Over the years, other ingredients such as almonds, cinnamon and honey have been added. Pharmaceuticals even aromatized the wines, grinding herbs and plants by mortar and then added them to wine. The art of adding flavours to wines was kept alive by monks, doctors and alchemists.

In 1786, the creators of the modern Vermouth as we know it emerged as Antonio and Beneditto Carpano in Milan, Italy. Although later on, the brothers Luigi and Guiseppe Cora (1838) were successful in giving it an industrial push which would lead it to be such a well-known spirit.

This was exactly when other famous Italian brands such as Gancia (1850), Ballor (1856), Cinzano (1860) and Martini (1863). The Vermouth of excellence in France is Noilly Prat (1843), and in Spain, it was first produced by Yzaguirre (1884).

Vermouth is elaborated with white wine; the red colouring in achieved through adding caramel. In the production process, similar mixed herbs are used as they are in bitter and liqueurs. We can find Chamomile in a dry Vermouth, Vanilla in a sweet white, Gentian in red and rhubarb, Iris Roots, Quinine amongst hundreds of other herbs. The alcohol content differs between 16 and 19 degrees and is a basic ingredient for many cocktails such as The Negroni, Buñueloni, Americano, Campari 2000, Manhattan, Rob Roy or Dry Martini.

El Vermut en Dry Martini By Javier de las Muelas

The tradition that follows Vermouth is timeless, there’re several different expressions that characterize its personality, such as “Vermouth Time” in Spanish. It has been capable of establishing itself as an experience that is deserving of its own designated time to be enjoyed within. A moment that evolves around meeting friends, family and the most loved, to “enjoy a Vermouth”.

Martini, an internationally acclaimed brand of Vermouth, launched a new Vermouth di Torino called Martini Riserva Speciale, presented in two variants, Rubino and Ambrato. They are elaborated from local Turin wines, macerated by hand and supervised by maestro herbalists.

Martini Riserva Speciale

Jointly with the Vermouth climax, the writer and journalist François Monti has published a book, El gran libro del vermut (The Great Book about Vermouth), where he tells its complex history and different ways to combine with food. Although Vermouth has never disappeared, the ritual created by Antonio Benedetto Carpano is now back in full stride throughout fashionable bars, as well as the development of a new fevered passion for vermouthers that are diversifying the offer by creating their own artisanal variations of Vermouth, showing new flavours to offer.

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