Why you should try sipping vermouth

Drink it straight—seriously

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.