I think it’s fair to say that many cocktail enthusiasts have never even tasted vermouth on its own–even a tiny sip. People must have visions of pickle juice and olive brine stuck in their minds when they cringe at the thought of trying it, which is too bad. A good vermouth is really good. Alone. Over ice. With a bit of soda. But offer it to friends and they’ll turn up their noses. That’s why I like to trick my guests (in a nice way!) by offering them an aperitif when they come to my house for dinner. Only once they give an opinion about the spicy, herbal, delicious drink they’re quaffing do I reveal that the mystery brew is vermouth.
So I was thrilled to see Alice Feiring’s article about New American Vermouths in the New York Times this week. I completely concur with her opinions. If you get your hands on some of my (and her) faves, like Vya or Atsby, you’ll not only have a great cocktail mixer on hand, but also a delicious ready-to-drink aperitif waiting in your fridge to be sipped (keep in the fridge for up to 3 months, then toss; don’t leave a bottle on the counter or it gets stale quickly). Another favorite from Italy is Carpano Antica Formula. C’mon, take a chance, live a little: try some vermouth. You might just be surprised.