When you hear the words “red vermouth”, you probably think of that sad bottle of Martini Rosso gathering dust at the back of the shelf. Well Spanish vermouth, or vermut rojo, is a horse of a different colour. Well, same colour, but…you know what I mean; a different thing entirely. It’s one of those drinks that used to be a national institution and then fell from grace, recently making a big comeback – there are even dedicated Vermouth Bars or vermuterias in Spain.
Neat or topped up with a little soda water over ice and garnished with orange and green olives, it’s traditionally served as an apéritif or an accompaniment to tapas. It used to be drunk on Sundays after church and whilst the religious connection may not be as strong, it’s still a popular weekend drink in Spain.
There are many examples and the spices and botanicals with which it is infused vary according to place and brand. They may include cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, coriander, orange peel or even walnuts.
It’s available in many Spanish restaurants, but if you struggle to find it, you can avail yourself of a bottle from one of the online suppliers.