7 Varieties of Spanish Vermouth that are Love at First Sip
Vermouth is making a comeback in Spain, and for a good reason. This isn’t the bottle of liquor that you remember your parents had on hand to make cocktails occasionally. Spanish vermouth stands out on its own, bursting with complexity and flavor. In cities like Madrid, Barcelona, and others, vermouth bars showcase some of the country’s best brands to show why this drink deserves so much attention.
What is Spanish vermouth, exactly?
Spanish vermouth is white wine that is fortified with herbs, spices, and botanicals, and then left to age in barrels until it is just right. Typically, vermouth has hints of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and finishes sweet, but not too much so. Bartenders will throw in a green olive or two and a slice of orange for more flavor and garnish. The Italians brought this drink to Catalonia in the 19th century and was a popular beverage until the 1970s after the reign of Franco ended. However, vermouth is making a comeback.
Locals love to spend a lazy afternoon on a sunny terrace, sipping on small glasses of vermouth and picking at tapas and snacks. Vermouth is not just a drink, but an event. It’s a way to come together with friends and family to share a drink, tell stories, and enjoy the sweet life. So without further ado, here are 7 varieties of Spanish vermouth that will make you swoon with just one sip.
Yzaguirre Reserva Rojo
Yzaguirre Reserva Rojo is a prestigious Catalan vermouth that has notes of cinnamon, citrus, and wood. It gets these notes from the 12 months of aging in an oak barrel that it goes through. This vermouth is quite balanced and is best suited as an aperitif or a late-afternoon drink. Yzaguirre Reserva Rojo is one of the oldest brands around, and a classic vermouth that’s great for newbies and connoisseurs alike.
On the other hand, Golfo is a more modern take of vermouth. It’s from Ribera del Duero and uses local Tempranillo grapes and spices to get its unique, curious taste. The dominant note here is clove, but it’s not overwhelming. Interestingly, Golfo is the first Spanish vermouth to come from the Ribera del Duero area.
Atxa Rojo Premium
Atxa Rojo Premium hails from País Vasco, and is a delightful blend of aromatic herbs and fine white wines. This vermouth is a fruitier one, with strong notes of sweet cherry. You’ll also get notes of licorice and cinnamon to balance out the sweetness. Axta Rojo Premium is recommended to pair with tapas or barbecue.
Cabecita Loca has the proud honor of being the International Wine Challenge’s best vermouth of 2019! This Spanish vermouth is the best in the country and the second-best in the world according to this year’s rankings. It’s flavor profile is highly complex, with 20 varieties of herbs and plants, including wormwood, spices, roots, and flowers. Cabecita Loca also achieves a wonderful balance of sweet and bitter that stay on your tongue as you sip.
Miró Reserva Etiqueta Negra
Miró is a top name in Catalan vermouth, and its Reserva Etiqueta Negra is a prime example as to why. This award-winning vermouth is a classic, coming from Reus, where vermouth was first introduced into Spain. Herbaceous, spicy, and deep, this Spanish vermouth hits all the right notes. The flavors that come through the most are oregano and anise, which perfectly harmonize with the sweetness of the wine.
Lustau is famous for its delightful Jerez sherry, which is the base of this unique Spanish vermouth. Lustau Rojo is a combination of amontillado and Pedro Ximénez wines, with herbs like sage and wormwood coming through. This is the perfect match to balance out the sweetness from the amontillado.
Lacuesta Reserva Rojo
Lacuesta Reserva Rojo is aged in French oak barrels made from new wood, and in small batches. This is unique, as many wines tend to age in old barrels that are used time and time again. Because of these barrels, this vermouth takes on notes of cocoa, coffee, and tobacco, which are deep, rich and complex.
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