Taste of the Week
Valentia Island “Ór” Vermouth, 17%
Widely available in Kerry (including local SuperValus). Other stockists include in Cork at Bradleys and in Dublin at Celtic Whiskey. RRP €35.00. Updates on their Facebook here.
Yellow/gold is the colour of this, the first commercially available Irish Vermouth, produced by duo Ann and Orla on Valentia Island. The colour is appropriate as the flowers of the furze bush is one of the many local botanicals.
I haven’t seen the botanicals listed but stockists Celtic Whiskey say that “Wormwood, nutmeg, yarrow, and orris root are just some of the 21 different botanicals that are blended with carefully selected Spanish white wine…”Aromas are somewhat zesty. If it came from the South of France, you’d be inclined to say scents of the garrigue. Well the local garrigue contains that furze and the dandelion that the two love! There’s a good hint of sweetness on the palate, full of flavour with a mild Campari like bitterness in the background. Good finish too with a little sweetness lingering on the lips.
That was the neat taste. Now…with tonic and ice..
Everything, both in the aromas and on the palate, is smoother, except perhaps for that Campari ghost in the background. Quite a pleasant drop though whether you’re sipping it on a sunny day on the lovely Kerry island (the Bray Head is one of my favourite walks anywhere) or even on a dull day in a warm room in a city suburb.
Tasted this first in Nash 19 where they added a slice of orange. Their usual serve is with tonic and that orange, and that is one of the producers’ suggestions as well. Vermouth is also a key part of the Negroni. This is my favourite cocktail - the ingredients are easy to remember! - one part vermouth, one part Campari and one part gin. While Valentia supplied the botanicals, the vermouth is based on a Verdejo wine from the Rueda region of Spain.