Katie Rice wants you to fall in love with vermouth. Yes, that vermouth—the stuff we splash into our martinis, Negronis, and Manhattans. During a recent trip to Spain, Rice, beverage manager at Barcelona Wine Bar in Inman Park, realized Americans miss the point by treating vermouth as an ingredient rather than as a drink in its own right. Made with wine grapes and herbs, this fortified, aromatized spirit is best enjoyed the way the Spaniards drink it: as an aperitif, on ice if you wish, and sipped slowly.
If you like wine (especially sherry or port) or herbal liqueurs like amaro, try vermouth as a pre-dinner libation. Sweet or dry, it comes in white and red styles. An orange slice can push the floral notes forward, while an olive highlights vermouth’s vegetal side. Splash in a little soda for a spritzer vibe if you must, but before you add anything to these pours, try them solo.
Photograph by Kyle Burdg; Vermouth Bottles provided by Barcelona Wine Bar; Bottle: Caroline C. Kilgore; Courtesy of Vinaio imports; Courtesy of Prime Wine & Spirits
This article originally appeared in our October 2014 issue.