In Spain there is a before lunch ritual known as the hora de vermut. If you are lucky, there will be a bar in your neighborhood offering vermut de grifo, that is vermouth on tap served straight from the barrel and often a special blend made just for the bar.
Many Spaniards continue with vermouth right through the day, sipping the intense herb-infused wine and paying no attention to the foreign tourists who don’t understand how or why anyone can drink vermouth straight.
Easy answer. They are drinking a good Spanish vermouth. We aren’t talking Martini & Rossi here—although if you order a Martini in a Madrid bar, you will be served a Martini & Rossi vermouth, for sure.
In Spain, vermouth is a serious drink, traditionally the first drink of the day. I am not going to claim that a spot of vermut on the rocks will cure a hangover, but it doesn’t do any harm.
The following recipe is not typical to Spain but that is where we first enjoyed it. The cocktail will come to you served straight up in a martini glass with a twist of orange and a spear of green olives or over ice in a tumbler with no garnish. Depends on the bar. Perhaps the simpler version comes from a bar with great respect for their house vermouth.
But I do like to fancy it up and a Martini glass does wonders for a coctail, don’t you think?
Bring it on!
Vermut Media y Media
1 part red vermouth
1 part white vermouth
generous dash of bitters, preferably Peychaud’s
twist of orange
spear of green olives
Mix vermouth and bitters in cocktail shaker and shake with ice. Pour into martini glass, garnish with twist of orange and a spear of olives and serve.
Note: Use the best vermouth your cash flow will allow. But not Carpano Antica. Just enjoy that solo.
Following the Vermouth? A grilled fish, of course.