Spain right now is the main scenario of vermouth’s renaissance. As we explained in a previous article, Spain was among the first countries to welcome this product and to make vermouth’s tradition its own. It is precisely in Spain that, recently, vermouth or vermut, for Spaniards, came back into the spotlights and got trendy once again. This time among a younger segment of consumers.
According to Sam Zucker in his article “Vermouth in Barcelona: The past and present of a delicious aperitivo culture” among the pioneers of the first Spanish vermouth age there was an Italian, Flaminio Mezzalama. Mezzalama decided to open a bar in Barcelona in 1902, focused entirely on vermouth, the first one of his kind in Spain. Café Torino, named after the city where vermouth was born, was located in Passeig de Gracia, one of the most elegant streets of Barcelona surrounded by buildings of the famous Spanish architect, Gaudì.
Thank to Café Torino, vermouth became the favorite drink of the wealthiest and trendiest part of the population of Barcelona. Unfortunately, this bar closed a few years later, but the thirst for vermouth didn’t cease among Spaniards. Slowly this drink started to reach the working class, people started drinking it before lunch as aperitivo, and vermouth became a ritual.
With time, young people forgot about this tradition, and also in Spain vermouth ended up in oblivion.
Caffè Torino, Barcelona (Image Source)
As already mentioned in the article “Vermouth Is The New Black” Yzaguirre was one of the main actor in the renaissance of this historic drink. This vermouth brand from Reus, decided to change focus in 2013 and started targeting the younger generations, more willing to spend time with friends during an aperitivo or at parties. Yzaguirre begun to sponsor concerts and open air events, and also changed his style, in order to make the product look more appealing to young consumers.
Also thanks to this strategy, vermouth became the favorite drink of young Spaniards and tourists. Everywhere, in cities like Barcelona or Madrid, you will find vermuterias, and every cool bar will have in the menu at least vermut casero, homemade vermouth.
The ritual of vermouth is so common that many refers to aperitivo using the word vermut, so it is common to say tomar un vermut, when you want to say have an aperitivo with friends.
Guide to Spanish vermouth.
When you should drink it:
Still now, Spaniards will say that the perfect moment to drink vermouth is before lunch, during the weekend. Nonetheless, with the rejuvenation of the target, it’s now easy to spot people drinking their vermouth after work, at the end of the day, other than at musical or gastronomic events.
How you should drink it:
Tradition wants vermouth to be drunk on the rocks, just with ice and garnished with an olive. The majority of the bars where you’ll find vermouth, will also have siphons to spray soda in your glass at will, in order to have a milder drink.
How you should pair it:
Vermouth is a digestive drink, you’ll want to eat something with it, so Spaniards pair it with tapas, typical Spanish snacks (come on, you know what tapas are). You can pair it with: olives, pan con tomate (bread with tomatoes), patatas bravas (fried potatoes with both garlic and spicy sauce), jamón (Spanish ham), queso manchego (cheese), or anchovies.
Bodega 1900, Barcelona (Image source it’s MINE)
Where you should drink it:
It is common for every bar to have vermouth, and if you trust us we will suggest you some of the vermuterias we liked the most (yes, we had to do a market analysis. Clearly against our will).
- Museu del Vermut. In Reus, the capital of Spanish vermouth.
- Bodega 1900. We shot the image above in this bar of Barcelona, owned by Albert Adrià.
- Senyor Vermut. We spent there many Sunday mornings in Barcelona (from 4 p.m. onwards). The owner is a vermouth fanatic, he has all the new ones, mainly Spanish.
- El Mollete. The oldest of Madrid, it dates back to 1830.
- La Ardosa. In Madrid, the place is definitely small, but you can have various artisanal vermouths
Why you should drink it:
Guys, seriously? Come on…
My name is Ettore Velluto, I’m a vermouth enthusiast, I like extraordinary cocktails and I’m definitely a foodie. I earned my MsC in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at ESADE Business School and at the moment I’m enrolled in the Coursera’s Social Media Marketing course.