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Vermut: The Perfect Aperitif

Written by Emily Elwes

Before deciding on where to eat many prefer an excellent aperitif to get the gastric juices flowing and enable a great eating experience. Vermouth as a fortified wine and aperitif provides the perfect before dinner drink that can ensure gastric success. Through a little history and understanding of vermouth choosing the right bar, café or restaurant to enjoy an aperitif will make every meal outstanding.

Vermouth Origins

VermouthVermouth has been around since the 18th century and originated near Turin, Italy as a somewhat sweet, dark bottled alcoholic beverage that may have included wormwood and other herbs. The name vermouth in German comes from the word for the herb wormwood. Shortly after other styles emerged which were lighter in color, completely clear, some that were sweeter and some that were dryer. Over the past 200 years, vermouth has expanded its sub style bases that include rosso, alla vaniglia, con bitter, bianco and dry from Torino, Blanc, dry, rouge from Chambery, dry and rouge from Marseilles, a western dry from North America, and orange, rose, and ambre which are considered modern versions of vermouth. Just as with most other spirits there is a broad diversity amongst vermouth producers and those that enjoy vermouth.

Vermouth cocktails

vermouth-cocktailsVermouth can be consumed as an aperitif, and be used in many cocktails including the famous martini and Manhattan cocktails. Although the popularity and the use in cocktails has drastically fallen in the West since the 1950s, it is still quite popular in France, Spain and Italy. Vermouth was first used in cocktails to help accent the underlying spirit base in the cocktail as well as to bring out the natural herbs, spices and other ingredients in vermouth. Besides dry vermouth martinis and sweet vermouth Manhattan’s, other cocktails use vermouth as well for a refreshing cocktail. Ask a bartender in Madrid for The Obituary, The Brooklyn or The French Kiss for vermouth cocktails that are slightly modern in different. Or you could opt for a cocktail that is 150 years old, the Vermouth Cocktail. It includes any style of Vermouth, your favourite would be best, a dash of bitters stirred with ice and strained into a stem glass with a twist of lemon or wedge of orange. A delicious aperitif as it was originally meant to be.

Vermouth in Madrid

Vermouth MadridWhere to have the best vermouth in Madrid is a typical question asked by locals and tourists alike. Here are a few of the most famous places that have either a great vermouth cocktail or selection. La Ardosa, founded in 1892 is probably one of the oldest on the list, having a classic red with anchovies is the choice here. La Fama del Vermouth gives you an idea that they are connoisseurs of Vermouth and rightly so with an excellent selection too. Taberna La Concha although very popular for their tapas, also has a great vermouth selection.

From your short term rental be sure to sample some of the best vermouths in the world, poured in as an aperitif or a cocktail to please your taste buds.

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About the author

Emily Elwes

Emily is a freelance content editor & manager living & working in Barcelona. She's passionate about food, drink, language and collaborative consumption.

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