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Vermouth, the perfect aperitif 

There are many pleasures in life, and each of the inhabitants of the planet has several among his favorites. There is pleasure in enjoying the practice of any sport in the morning of a sunny day; in letting the sun's rays rest delicately on the book we are avidly "devouring"; in carefully preparing a unique recipe for the whole family... Which one do you keep? We have it clear: with all of them, but complemented with the essential aperitif, vermouth.

And is there something better to prepare our body for food? Throughout Europe, and especially in Italy, France and Spain, it is almost an ancient custom to delight your lips and palate with the refreshing taste of a good vermouth in Spanish, vermouth in French, or wemut in German. Whatever the language, one thing is for sure: you won't regret it.


History of vermouth

It is said that the history of vermouth goes back to Ancient Greece, where the physician and philosopher Hippocrates of Cos was in search of a drink that would help our organism and that would have a disinfectant capacity, therefore he tried with the maceration of wine, wormwood leaves and dictamus. During the whole of the Middle Ages this maceration process was carried out for medicinal purposes by monks, healers and alchemists.

At the end of the 18th century, progress with technical means made it possible to increase production, bringing it to Italy and Central Europe. From 1838, thanks to the brothers Giuseppe and Luigi Cora, the vermouth was already reaching all of Europe. In France, white vermouths of very good quality began to be produced in the middle of the 19th century and were then exported to other countries. Nowadays, both red and white vermouths are produced in different areas of Europe.


Composition of vermouth

In order to reach the final taste provided by vermouth, one must begin the journey with an inseparable companion: wine. The broth of the gods is the essential ingredient to begin to elaborate the vermouth, since it is the base from which everything is gestated. In addition, not just any wine can be used. The white wine is the one chosen among all to give life to the perfect aperitif. As for the grape, each producer chooses the variety that best suits him, although it is the Muscatel that is most used in the production of vermouth.

And if the white wine is the base of the mixture, the spices, herbs, roots and flowers are the star touch to reach the final flavor. More than 40 types of these ingredients, such as Madagascar cloves, wormwood, raspberry, Ceylon cinnamon or cascarillo tree are mixed with alcohol in a tamburo, in which they turn twice a day for two weeks. After this process, the white wine and sugar are added to the herbs, leaving them to rest for a while until they reach the optimum moment for consumption.

The herbs and spices used to make any vermouth are very broad. We will now talk a little about them:

  • Wormwood: This is the main spice used to make vermouth, it is a medicinal plant with a bitter taste.
  • Enula Campana: Its origin is British, it is a yellow flower with antiseptic properties.
  • Calamus: This plant has beneficial properties for all kinds of stomach problems, it has been said that its oil can cause hallucinations.
  • Dictamo Blanco: With an intense lemon aroma, it is a plant used to improve alopecia problems. It also has beneficial properties for the stomach.
  • Elderberry flowers: It has quite significant healing properties for respiratory tract problems and skin conditions, but in order to collect them you must make sure that their roots are not green yet, as they can be toxic.
  • Major Centaury Roots: This plant makes use of its roots which have a bitter character, it also has beneficial properties for the skin, as does the elderberry.
  • Gentiana Lutea roots: Curiously, in the Middle Ages this plant was used as an antidote to poison. The root of this two-metre tall plant is bitter and its flowers are yellow.
  • Juniper Berry: It is a fundamental flavouring in gins. Its taste is bittersweet and it gives a lot of personality.
  • Cinnamon: Among its properties is that of increasing libido, it has a very characteristic, sweet aroma.
  • Clove: Its main use is to flavour vermouth.
  • Ginger: It provides that peculiar acidic touch of this plant.
  • Chamomile: It is used for its sweetness.

Cardamom: The seeds are used a lot for the maceration of liquids.


Types of Vermouth

The type of vermouth will vary depending on the ingredients used to make it. This is how we can find these types:

The Red Vermouth: In Italy, where it comes from, it is more bitter and spicy than here in Spain, where it has a sweeter taste. It is also called Vermouth Rosso. In our country it is the most consumed.
The White vermouth: In this case, its origin is French and its creator was Joseph Noilly. It is the most consumed in the world due to its sweetness and its citric and vanilla notes. Its sweetness is because less bitter ingredients were used in its production, unlike other vermouths.
The Dry Vermouth: Also from France, it is very similar to the previous one, the difference is that it is much drier and more bitter. Also it receives the name of Dry Vermouth, and if it is but used in the world of the cocktail store. One of its great admirers is a character that we all know, the mythical James Bond.
Pink Vermouth: Of all the others, it is the softest and lightest, its floral and fruity notes make it the ideal drink to consume in summer


Brands of vermouth

Of course, it's virtually impossible to name all the companies that spend their days improving our snacks. For this reason, from Yo pongo el hielo we have compiled the best moments that have made us live:


History of Vermouth

Like all beverages, vermouth is also accompanied by several stories and legends about its origins. Among the most widespread is the one that dictates its beginning in ancient Greece, when a character called Hippocrates macerated wine with wormwood and safflower to create a spicy wine.

However, it was in the 18th century, specifically in 1786, when the modern concept of vermouth was born from the hands of the brothers Antonio and Benedetto Carpano. Located in Milan, they added various spices to the Muscatel wine, as well as sugar, alcohol and caramel. This was the beginning of a precious history that over the years has increased thanks to new producers in love with aperitif time.

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