On a recent trip to Barcelona perhaps the most enjoyable (and certainly the most civilised) thing we did was participate in the twice-daily ritual of vermut.
Before lunch or dinner, locals take an hour to meet with friends and have a couple of glasses of vermouth with some salty snacks. The vermouth is usually made in house and is equal parts bitter, sweet and herbal. It is served with a couple of large cubes of ice, a slice of orange and an olive.
The snacks could be anything from Gordal olives to boquorones and anchovies, preserved mussels, mojama with almonds, guindilla peppers or potato chips fried in olive oil, served with a little sea salt and a vermouth-spiked hot sauce.
It is an age old pastime in Barcelona and one that has become increasingly popular of late. It is possible to enjoy vermut at old-school joints like Bodega Marin, La Plata and El Xampanyet, along with a host of new bars such as Morro Fi, Bodega Montferry and the excellent Bar Brutal, which also happens to have the best wine list in town.
In short, it is a perfect marriage of food and drink, waking the senses for the meal which awaits. It has been great to see how London has taken to Mauro Vergano’s Vermouth and Americano and now we wait for the day when it feels okay to stop work at noon and go for a couple of glasses and something salty here in London.
Mauro Vergano’s vermouths can be enjoyed at Artusi, Brawn, Brunswick House, Burro e Salvia, Cafe Murano, Chiltern Firehouse, The Clove Club, Duck Soup, Fera at Claridges, Happiness Forgets, Hibiscus, Lyle’s, Mele e Pere, Ottolenghi Islington, P.Franco, Primeur, The Dairy, The Quality Chop House, Raw Duck, The Remedy, The Rooftop Cafe, Sager + Wilde, The Ten Bells, Terroirs, Toast, Verden and Zucca and can be purchased from Noble Fine Liquor, General Store and Winemaker’s Club.