Vermouth - More Than Your Grandma's Drink
Image by Anita Ward
With the trends of wine in a state of constant rebirth and flux, it's no wonder that its aromatised cousin is making its way out of the wings to become a centerstage, pre-dinner favourite.
And with more people wanting to drink less and still have complex flavour across their lips it makes complete sense, but vermouth didn’t start as wine.
Like most drinks that started as spirits, vermouth was a medicinal product. Its infusion of wormwood was used as a popular remedy for digestive issues in Ancient Greece, however, we’ve come a long way since then.
The term Vermouth comes from the French pronunciation of the German word for wormwood, wermut. German apothecaries were trading this wormwood infused elixir with the French all the way back in the mid 15th century.
Our modern versions of vermouth originated in Torino at the start of the 19th century with its use being popularised as an aperitif by the courts of Turin and Paris. Since then, vermouth has become an intractable part of the classic cocktail canon, as well as having several resurgences in popularity throughout the 20th century.
Because of its lack of popularity, up until recently, vermouth was left on the back bar and in the past.
No longer - we’re finally pulling vermouth out of its senility and into the world.
Unico Yuzu is vermouth, but not as you know it. Unico Yuzu does for vermouth what Kanye's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy did for Hip-Hop. It's revivification baby. 🔥
Using a base of Merlot with this vintage was in and of itself, a leap of faith. Ever since Paul Giamatti said his famous line about Merlot in the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot sales in both the USA and Australia took a steep nose dive - which made the alarm bells ring for several growers throughout Australia. Our obsession with creating rich, opulent Bordeaux style wines was a chicken that came to roost - and roost it did.
Merlot’s declining value has meant that the viability of the grape has become ever more tenuous throughout some of Australia’s best wine-growing regions. So instead of letting this grape fall into destitute value, or even worse, fall on the ground, why not create an off-the-wall aperitif?
But for you to best appreciate this unique vermouth, you need some new recipes to enliven the senses and push the boundaries of aperitif.
Devil in a New Dress (新しいドレスを着た悪魔)
30ml Unico Yuzu
30ml Bitter Italian Liqueur
5ml Rose water
Stir ingredients over ice and garnish with a thick slice of lemon and a sprig of lavender.
So you think you know Negroni? Well, how about its silver-fox of a precursor drink. The Mi-To was the cocktail that started it all. It's the O.G - but a slick addition of modern vermouth adds an edge sharper than The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
But sometimes you’re not in the mood for the more classic aperitivo - we feel you, just like cookies, they’re a 'sometimes' food. More often than not we’re always craving a little more acidity and complexity, and for that, we turn to our good friend in citrus to send us sky-high.
Bergamot Bloods (ベルガモットブラッズ)
20ml Unico Yuzu
20ml Japanese Whisky
20ml Italicus Bergamotto
20ml Orange Juice
Shake all ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled coupette glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
This next drink is simply a forgotten classic, however, it’s being recalled more and more as the low alcohol movement permeates itself deeper into bars. Created in 1884 as a homage after the Broadway show by the same name reached the milestone of 500 shows.
45ml Unico Yuzu
45ml Pennyweight Fino Sherry
1 dash of orange bitters
Stir all ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist. Serve with a side of L’Artisan Fermier.
This cocktail really is once for wine lovers - especially natty and funky wines. The combination of sweet citrus and funky flor gives you this wonderfully complex yet impeccably balanced drink, with as many standard drinks as a glass of vino.
Stuff that in your next cheese plate and smoke it.