Monday, August 3, 2015

Telling The Story Of Vermouth

Adam Ford has written a book called Vermouth: The Revival of the Spirit that Created America’s Cocktail Culture. This $24.95 volume tells the strange and fascinating history of vermouth, visits the controversies that have always been a part of vermouth tradition, and offers recipes both old and new to take advantage of the new generation of craft vermouths that are now available. I was given a copy of the book for review.

From Neolithic China to the ancient Silk Roads, to a marketing battle between two Italian producers in the 1700’s to the emergence of a new American vermouth style in the 2010’s, from the boisterous New York City saloons of the 1870’s to the ultra-dry martinis of the 1950’s, the story of vermouth spans the globe and all of recorded history. This book tells the story with style and is a great gift for a lover of mixology as well as a tome that will complete any well-stocked spirits library.

Vermouth is a closer look at a notoriously underrated bar staple. Equal parts fascinating history, useful recipe guide, and gorgeous bar-side display, the book is a treat for anyone who appreciates a well-balanced cocktail. Or a great sipper.

Ford fell in love with vermouth the same way he fell in love with a woman, quite by accident. And the woman was instrumental in his introduction to vermouth, the aromatized wine he discovered while hiking the Italian Alps.

Vermouth is Ford's attempt to write a history of the drink, a history which spans 10,000 years of human events, a history he claims has never been written.

The story's introduction runs through China, the Middle East, ancient Egypt, Persia, the silk routes and the Mediterranean. Then he does a turn on the recent blink of an eye covering the American side of vermouth's history, in which he plays a part by producing a vermouth of his own. Ford also includes a lengthy section of cocktail recipes using vermouth.

It is a drink that offers a lot of surprises as its story unfolds, and a drink that is well worth the time of any wine lover to investigate. This book is a great introduction to a beverage which has much more to it than meets the eye.


Follow Randy Fuller on Twitter