In Catalan, when you feel like going out for tapas, you say, “Fer el vermut.” The precise translation is “Go for vermouth,” perhaps because in Spain you never get a drink without also getting a bite of food. The two go hand in hand. And although the drink of choice at most tapas bars these days is a glass of wine, sherry and vermouth are also very popular.
We don’t think much about vermouth in the States. We might put a drop or two of dry vermouth in a martini or half a shot of sweet vermouth in a Manhattan, but that’s about it. Almost no one drinks it straight. Which is a shame. Because if you’ve ever had a first-rate vermouth, it’s a wonderful aperitif, as I’ve discovered, and an ideal beverage with most tapas.
Almost every region in Spain has their own special vermouth. Yesterday after visiting a couple of wineries in Priorat and Montsant, Eva and I stopped for lunch at the Celler de L’Aspic restaurant in the tiny little town of Falset. I was just about to order a glass of wine at the bar when I spotted the bottle of Falset Vermut. It was so unlike any other vermouth I’ve ever had; light orange in color with a nose of honey and orange and some complex herbal notes—perhaps lavendar?
It was so delicious I bought a bottle to bring home with me. Now if I can just resist drinking it before we leave.
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